Located in the tony 17th Arrondissement, a ten minute walk from the Etoile, in a neighborhood both residential and commercial, Boucherie Levy stands next to a store selling Judaica. While France’s kosher authorities have certified more than two dozen delicatessen and butcher shops in Paris, this is perhaps the most beloved, and with good reason.
By New York deli standards (think Zabar’s), the corner shop is small but inviting thanks to large bay windows, a white tile floor and brightly lit display cases overflowing with fresh meat and take out preparations. Here, you’ll find an array of Jewish comfort food like pickled beef brisket and chopped chicken liver, together with traditional French specialties such as foie gras.
On one side of the shop, I noticed paper thin garnet slices of beef carpaccio for two (10 euros or about $12), on the other, a rosy chunk of braised veal labeled ‘veau à l’os’, that I thought could be mistaken for (God forbid)… ham. Next to that, was another of the shop’s exclusive specialties: foie gras speckled with candied fruit like apricot or figs.
The pleasure of effectively navigating the idiosyncratic topography of the City of Lights is only eclipsed by discovering the perfect meal in a city known for its gastronomy. Fortunately for the kosher traveler, this is no challenge at all.
In November 2010, UNESCO added French gastronomy to its list of the world’s “intangible cultural heritage,” making France the first nation to be honored for its arts of the table. The term haute cuisine (French for “high cooking”), coined in the nineteenth century, signifies elaborate preparations and presentations of small and numerous courses. French dishes liberally employ herbs and creamy ingredients. Most localities hold open air street markets nearly every day, where they sell locally grown fresh produce such as fennel and truffle, as well as cheese, wine, poultry and cured meats.