Paris is a city of delicious discoveries. At a dinner with friends, someone mentioned that they had been to a new shop called Epices Roellinger, on a narrow street near the Place de l’Opéra. The next day my husband and I found our way to the small boutique, chock full of colorful bottles and containers of aromatic spices. The owner, Olivier Roellinger, travels the globe in search of the best examples. He then concocts his own blends, packages them, and adds labels that explain the mixture, with suggestions for food pairings. In addition, there’s an incredible selection of more than 20 types of vanilla beans and a case devoted to peppercorns, some quite rare.
Sandrine, the warm and welcoming manager of the Paris store (other boutiques are in Cancale and Saint Malo), is knowledgeable and helpful with selections. I came back to the apartment with beautiful Mexican vanilla beans that had an enticing, slightly smoky bouquet, some Poivre des Mondes (a global peppercorn mix), two blends from India, Retour des Indes and Poudre Grande Caravane (both robust seasonings), and some Vinaigre Celtic Épicé (a small bottle of spiced apple cider vinegar). The spice blends run around eight euros each; the vinegar and my Mexican vanilla beans are in the same price range.
The pepper made an omelet extra special. The Grande Caravane added superb flavor to a winter squash soup, and a few drops of the cider provided a fine accent to a slice of mild Comté cheese.
The store has a website in French, which you can also view in English by pushing the tab for "English" on the lower bar of the home page. Sandrine did mention that they can send parcels Fed Ex."
51, rue Sainte-Anne