mercredi, juin 06, 2007

Batofar Closure and Food Shoppin'

So, I spent the greater part of the afternoon/evening running a bunch of food-related errands. I needed some hot peppers, some aji amarillo pepper paste, and two small hens, because I'm making aji de gallina. I also swung by this store near the Moulin Rouge called L'Etoile D'Or, run by a very nearly crazy chocolate-monger, Denise Acabo. Denise has her wood-and-glass-interior store packed to exploding with chocolates and candies (some pics here), but the amazing part about it is the quality of her products. She has clearly canvassed all of France and brought back the best of each region. As she walks me around her store, wearing a kilt and pigtails and addressing me as "tu," she explains the origins of every item. This marshmallow is flavoured with Bergamot and comes from a nunnery in Nancy, these bonbons are filled with raspberries and come from Dijon, and so on.

The crowning glory (and no doubt biggest profit-maker) is her Bernachon chocolates. Bernachon is a chocolate-maker in Lyon that is widely regarded as the best in France and possibly in the world; it is a true chocolaitier, in the sense that it makes its products directly from raw cocoa beans and does not buy its chocolate from a couverture producer, and Bernachon himself has been awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Worker/Craftsman in France) which is the highest accolade you can get around here. Not only are the chocolates to die for (the salt-butter caramel-filled bars are frankly orgasmic), Denise is the ONLY shop other than Bernachon's own shop in Lyon to sell these chocolates. In other words, you can't get this stuff anywhere else. Not surprisingly, the Bernachon chocolate bars cost 9€ each.

So, after spending nearly 70€ there (mostly gifts for people, but a few for me as well), I took care of my other food-shopping needs, and headed home to start cooking the hens for tomorrow's meal.

A few days ago, I got an email from Anatoly, informing me that Batofar would be closing for 15 days starting on May 31. He sent me this press release, which is rather nebulous about the reasons for the closure. From what I can glean out the first paragraph, there were some complaints made against the boat-bar-club (this is that club I've often talked about that is in under the deck of a large boat) and they've received warnings from the police, and then just recently they heard from the police that there will be a 15-day mandatory closing. It's still not clear which complaints and/or warnings brought this about, nor what sort of infraction warranted a mandatory closure.

Either way, it seems that the recent and rapid residential development of the neighborhood is taking a toll on nightlife. Batofar is moored on the Seine less than 1km from where I work, which is in the "new" neighborhood around the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. This area used to be stockyards and other such industrial stuff, but when they installed the BnF there, suddenly there was a huge construction push that included a mixture of office buildings and residential ones. Now, the strip of boat-bars and boat-clubs along the Seine at the foot of the Tolbiac bridge have to contend with yuppie residents (these new apartments aren't cheap) who can't countenance the idea of having active nightlife near their fancy digs.

Anyway, Batofar will be back by June 15th, but the future for the club isn't clear, since the new residents of "Paris Rive Gauche" (the real-estate-ad name for the area) are here to stay...

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