A few weeks back, the kids had their Ski vacation Week. My son wanted to build an Electric Guitar during this school holiday, he asked a music teacher at school where to find parts, and the teacher said that Place Pigalle was the best place to buy bits and bobs for this project.
I felt like this part of town was a great adventure for father & son. So off they went! Nestled in between the Sex Shops, Peep Shows and Sushi Bars are lots of music shops! Daylight hours in Pigalle is a different kettle of fish then night time hours. Daylight finds little old ladies with their rolling grocery carts just back from the market, mom and kids running to and from errands, all very tame and mundane!
What does this have to do with cooking?? Well, during that vacation week, I thought we might venture out for a family road trip. Everytime I suggested this exciting idea, it was met with 'I need more parts for the guitar". The week came and went........with no additional mileage built-up on the car, until yesterday.......
.......I didn't ask but I gave the family a ETD (estimated time of departure) of 8:00a.m. We were heading north to the town of Fresnoy le Grand. Yep, another factory store! A little over 2 hours and 20 minutes and you'll find the sleepy town devoted to all things Enameled Cast Iron!
That little tiny building is the factory store. Stuffed with discount prices, plus fin de series steals! This place gets crowded! I'm supposed to take a bunch of expat ladies up there before the school year is over. I now understand why it was suggested I only take about 15. Think of a can of packed sardines and you can imagine this store, 15 ladies with hot credit cards in their hands! You can eMail in advance and order make sure they have a piece in the color you want, firstname.lastname@example.org. The lady that works in the shop was terribly helpful, although didn't speak English. I use the point, grunt and smile method of speaking French, this usually works well!
Honestly, I've known about this store for many years but never really wanted more 'Creuset'. I certainly didn't think the prices would be any cheaper than those Factory Outlet Stores that line the Interstate Highways in the U.S. I was WRONG!!
Look at the stash!
They had examples from each market, UK & U.S., but mainly featured the French line. I found a wonderful square griddle pan. I can already tell that I'll love this pan. Plus it was in a cool Indigo color!
The 'guys' insisted that I buy these little mini-cocottes! Perfect for individual servings! I just had to try them out last night, filled with Baked Polenta with a good Cheddar mixed in. These were fun! I always like to add a bit of whimsy at my table, and these little guys were too cute to pass up! I am picturing using them for many things---Mac-N-Cheese, Pot Pies and Deep-Dish mini Apple Pie!