Here are two good addresses we’d like to share with you: La belle Iloise and A la mère de famille, on rue Montorgueil.
Rue Montorgueil, just 350 meters from Le Relais des Halles, is an emblematic Parisian thoroughfare steeped in history and today a particularly pleasant shopping street. In this article, we offer a shopping experience followed by a culinary exploration, accompanied by a suggestion for a quick recipe to prepare using the delicious produce we brought back.
According to Victor Hugo in Les Misérables, the name of the rue de Montorgueil was inspired by a tool used to carry heavy loads to a low height, called the “cric” (Wikipedia). From the opening of the Porte Poissonnière, built under the reign of Louis XIII in 1645, this street became the arrival point for peaches from northern France.
Today, rue Montorgueil is home to a renowned fishmonger’s and retains an interesting trace of its past: Au Rocher de Cancale. This famous establishment, opened in 1805, was renowned for its oysters and shellfish. Honoré de Balzac mentions it many times in his works, which suggests that the writer must have been a regular visitor to this charming place.
Au rocher de Cancale in 1907
All along the rue Montorgueil, you’ll find numerous food shops offering you their mouth-watering products. Charming café terraces add to the seductive atmosphere.
Today, we’re delighted to introduce you to two addresses we’re particularly fond of and highly recommend: La Belle-Iloise fish cannery and A la Mère de Famille confectionery. We had the opportunity to visit both stores, buy their products and test them for you.
La Belle-Iloise, a Breton company based in Quiberon for almost a century, specializes in the manufacture and distribution of canned fish. Quiberon was once one of France’s leading sardine ports. The brand gradually developed through direct sales, particularly after the Second World War, when supermarkets gained in popularity at the expense of traditional grocery stores. La Belle-Iloise stores are mainly located on the French coast, particularly in Brittany.
The brand relies on old-fashioned designs with attractive colors and packaging that evokes tradition.
The products can even be charming, authentic gifts.
The shapes and colors are particularly charming and make you want to try the product. We bought the 6 tins of Tuna and Mackerel flakes.
We found the shapes and colors of the tins particularly appealing and make you want to discover the contents. We bought the six tins of tuna and mackerel crumble.
We also fell in love with the cans of sardines sold in the old-fashioned net style.
The boxes are truly magnificent, adding an iconic touch to the product.
So we decided to create a plate using tuna crumble with tomato and sardines in Saint-Georges oil. Preparation takes just five minutes. You’ll need arugula, basil, lemon, olive oil, a good loaf of bread and semi-salted butter.
Tuna flakes are served with arugula, basil and lemon, while sardines are eaten with buttered spreads. You can also prepare bruschetta sardines by adding finely chopped cherry tomatoes to an oiled slice of bread. Add a little basil for even more flavor. We served this delicious summer dish with a glass of white wine.
The products are fine and deliciously fragrant. It’s beautiful, tasty and profoundly French. We were conquered.
A classic tin of sardines in oil from Connétable costs 3€00, while the equivalent from La Belle-Iloise costs 3€60. For our dish for one person, we used half a tin of sardines, or 1€80, and half a can.
La Belle Iloise
53 Rue Montorgueil – 75002 Paris
Every day from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm
A la Mère de Famille, a company with exceptional longevity, is truly steeped in family tradition. Its first store, still in operation, was established in 1761 at 35 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, making it one of the five oldest in Paris. Over the years, the company has changed owners, but has always preserved and strengthened its expertise as a chocolatier-confiseur.
A la Mère de Famille carefully selects its raw materials during trips to the countries of production, where it meets directly with the producers of hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios and, of course, cocoa beans. The brand is not just a distributor, it is also involved in production, creating and implementing its own chocolate and confectionery recipes.
If you’re the kind of person who says “it’s good because it’s not too sweet”, this address may not be for you. On the other hand, if sweets, chocolates, calissons, fruit jellies and marzipan conjure up sweet memories, then push open the door of this friendly store. You’ll receive a warm welcome and discover a wide variety of authentic, quality products, which you can also choose from as gifts.
We were keen to try out the highlights of their chocolate collection, which focuses more on pralines than ganaches. Their pralines are truly delicious, generous and flavorful. The cocoas used are powerful, and the ganaches are equally generous without being too greasy or doughy. This is an excellent classic chocolate.
We also succumbed to the charms of Calisson, a confectionery that originated in Provence and has a long history in Aix-en-Provence. In fact, its origins lie in 13th-century Venetian preparations. The navette-shaped Calisson is made from a glazed fruit and almond paste, resting on a thin wafer. It’s truly addictive, and to resist eating just one is a testament to great willpower!
We also tasted the fruit pastes we devoured as children on the beach. Shaped like bars, they were distributed with a slice of dry bread by the organizers of cheap vacation camps in the 70s. Here, we’re in an upscale, bourgeois version.
In short, A la Mère de Famille is not lacking in expertise or product diversity, to satisfy even the most demanding gourmets. We haven’t even mentioned marzipan, bêtises de Cambrai, orangettes, marshmallows…
Beware, these products are extremely addictive! Best enjoyed in company.
A la Mère de famille
82 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris
Open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 20:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 13:00.