February 19, 2014

A Great Epicerie in Beaune

A January issue of the French magazine L’Express featured “Our 60 best gourmand addresses in Beaune.” The quieter winter months provided a peaceful opportunity to explore some of these before the summer tourists arrive from Paris, Europe, USA, and beyond.

A previous trip to Beaune had already yielded an exciting discovery of artisanal yogurts for sale at a specialty shop in the middle of town. And there was L’Épicerie in the middle of the magazine spread, extolled for its “selection of the highest caliber” even though the store is “about as big as a pocket handkerchief.”


Madame Parra, whose son owns the shop, guides customers around the different products. The clientele is a nice mix of local regulars and tourists throughout the year. The goal, she explains, was to reach beyond the Burgundy region, to do something a little different. So, while there are exceptional products from the area (escargots, mustard, jams and jellies), there is also an exciting variety of French and imported products. The Italian risotto is the best she has ever had. Spanish hams make a tempting appearance. There are alluring sardines, anchovies, olive oils, charcuterie, wines, fruit juices, and cheeses.

Check out the pulp

The gold is in the butter, however. L’Épicerie sells butters from Bourdier in St. Malo in Brittany. The products from this Maison du Buerre, though far from Burgundy, are a discovery for the taste buds. Made à l’ancienne, the butter comes in surprising flavors (espelette pepper; yuzu) as well as plain and salted. If you thought you knew butter, think again. And a free hint: when the artisan says it is the butter “of the best chefs and real gourmands,” buy some and eat it. If you have to, lick it plain off a knife. You’ll be glad you did.


The aforementioned thick, sweet yogurts (prune, coconut, and strawberry have proven popular with kids and adults) from Bordier are an equal revelation in quality.

Madame's Favorite
As is so often the case with the proud people of this region, the pull of home is difficult to escape. When pressed as to her favorite product in the store, Mme Parra pays hearty tribute to the products from Marmelure & Confitade, original jams from Semur-en-Auxois, in stunning flavors, from pear-cardamom to strawberry-pineapple.

Madame Parra speaks wonderful English, thanks largely to her time running a fish restaurant with her husband in Melbourne during the 1960s. So, if you don’t speak French, don’t worry. Head to L’Epicerie for a memorable food shopping experience in Beaune.

Diplome is always good news
What: L'Épicerie, a specialty food store
Where: 12, rue Carnot, Beaune
When: Year-round
How Much: Yogurts are 1 euro; butter is 2.50-3.50 euros; jams around 6 euros
Don’t Miss: The butter, the Italian imports, the kindness

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