G. Detou: A Paris Spice and Specialty Market
In the French language, when you speak the words for "I have everything," you say j'ai de tout, which is exactly how you pronounce the name of a splendid Parisian specialty market called G. Detou. And it's exactly how you'll feel when you walk into the store -- they have everything.
G. Detou is located in Paris's 2nd arrondissement, not far from the Bourse, France's stock exchange, and Les Halles. It has two separate storefronts: one sells chocolates (many brands, some of which are rare), dried fruits, big bags of nuts, spices, jars of condiments like Dijon mustard, sea salts, cans of patés and cassoulet, and colorfully decorated tins of sardines advertising their added flavors and spices.
Those who have a passion for cake decorating will love G. Detou for its selection of silver dragees and decorating sugars that are said to not be available outside of France which makes the shop particularly popular with both professional and amateur bakers.
The other shop sells more finished and packaged sweets and luxury products like truffles, cherries packed in syrup, plus refrigerated items like olives and meats. You have to make separate purchases in each shop, which also requires a two-step process in which you present your selections at one counter, pay for them at another, and then return to get your goods. It's a little unusual but the store is small and that's the way they do it.
G. Detou is not fancy, nor is it in a fancy part of town, and most of the customers are local which to me is always reassuring. The selections are extensive, especially for the chocolates, which is probably the item that makes it more a destination than anything else.
The shop feels like a combination of a bulk-purchase store and a specialty market and shares some of the exoticism of New York's Kalustyan's, although it's not as large. But G. Detou is also more edited than Kalustyan's and thus is really worth a visit.
I can't imagine a better source for food and cooking-based Paris souvenirs.
The prices are very good. On my visit, I bought a 250 gram vacuum-sealed package of Piment d'Espelette, the smoky Basque red pepper for about $18; a 50 gram little jar of it at the 6th arrondissement La Grande Epicerie was priced at about $11.
G. Detou takes credit and debit cards. Open Monday through Saturday, 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. Closed on Sundays. And don't worry if you don't speak French. The staff is very friendly and helpful and language will not be a barrier.
58, rue Tiquetonne
Tél: 01 42 36 54 67
Metro stop: Étienne Marcel