March 18, 2014

Dijon Shopping Part 1

La Rose de Vergy

Sometimes, France wants to show you elegance and grace in their natural state. Such is the experience at La Rose de Vergy, where the in-house products appeal to every sense. They smell wonderful. The samples are tasty. Give the breads a gentle squeeze and reconsider your notions of “soft.” The hushed conversation in the adjacent tea room is the sound of dignity and discretion. But your eyes are the most dazzled. Look at the perfect, individualized wrapping for the nonettes de Dijon. See the line-up of bonbons in funky flavors, like bergamot and rose, which are made downstairs, in the cellar, on a machine from 1850. Each plastic bag of homemade cookies has its own little ribbon in a perfect bow. This is a classy but accessible and friendly place.

What: Food store
Where: 1, rue de la Chouette, Dijon, Côte d’Or, Burgundy

How Much: Bonbons are affordable

Grain de Cassis

This little store, bright and bouncy, is something different on the food landscape. The products marry modernity and tradition, like teenagers doing the waltz.

Surprising vinegars with pulps from passion fruit, tomato, or mango and cardamom claim shelf space. There is an impressive display of specialty lemonades in striking colors and flavors: pink grapefruit, shimmering green pistachio, lemon cinnamon. On the label it says, “Artisan Limonadier Depuis 1930.” (“Nice to meet you, Madame. What do you do for work?” “Lemonader. Been in the family nearly a hundred years now.”)

Products change frequently, a sign that the young owner is committed to keep her clientele interested and coming back. Lemon candies from England, artisanal chocolates, fine coffees, and even Arizona Iced Tea (“it sells well here in France,” the shopkeeper says) are all on display. On a recent visit, she was selling bugs: grasshoppers, pepper and sun dried tomato crickets, sesame cumin mealworms and the like. To eat. As a cocktail snack.

What: Food store
Where: 14, rue Rameau, Dijon, Côte d'Or, Burgundy
How Much: Priced to fit any budget. Lemonades are about 4 euros.

Au Duché de Bourgogne

On this beautiful plaza in the middle of Dijon, this little-bit-of-everything store beckons with those familiar but seductive words: produits régionaux. And regional products there are: wines (duh), anis candies, mustards, pain d’épices, liquers, snails, honey. All good things.

The store also has a wonderful selection of specialty wine glasses, decanters, corkscrews, and books about the wines and cuisine of Burgundy. There is also an excellent selection of food and wine-themed postcards, fun for every traveler.

What: Food, book, and wine store
Where: 1, Place de la Libération, Dijon, Côte d’Or, Burgundy
How Much: Spend three euros or three hundred

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