July 1, 2005
Alien Life Forms

alien carrots.jpgThe Christmas before last I helped the paralegal in our office to organize the caterers for the annual office Christmas party. On the advice of someone who had tried them, we hired the catering service of La Grande Epicerie, foodie sister of the trendy left bank department store, Le Bon Marché. The service of the Grande Epicerie was impeccable. The staff were friendly and professional and went well beyond the terms of the contract, even offering to whip up some spaghetti for the children. The food was ultra-trendy, all plastic shot-glasses with foam and intricate chive designs. It looked beautiful and was tasty enough, but it took some courage to blindly toss strange objects into your mouth. The Critic, who is as conservative as can be when it comes to food, was not impressed. For myself, I thought the layout was gorgeous but the whole thing seemed a little lacking in substance, literally and metaphorically.

Speed forward to last week: another office party, this time to say goodbye to a colleague who is retiring. This time, the office chose the catering company Potel et Chabot, one that we had considered two Christmases ago but thought sounded too trendy and expensive.

This office party was actually taking place in the conference room of our small Paris office, rather than the home of one of the partners as for the Christmas one. Potel et Chabot managed to almost completely disguise the fact that this was a conference room. The table looked like an elegant long dinner table, with a gorgeous floral arrangement and all the office bits hidden. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was obliged to attend with young Mr. Cutts and so my attention was somewhat taken with his needs.

And the food? Delicious. Imaginative. Substantial. Everything you'd like from a caterer. There were little tubes of feuille de brick filled with foie gras and plugged with a tiny juicy raisin. There were delicious little quiches. Dainty little sticks with delicious raw salmon and juicy pineapple threaded in alternating bites. And there were the items in the above photo, the one item that did make us hesitate before plunging. Carrot, yes. Taste of wasabi? Yes. I asked the server for more information and he explained that the steamed carrot logs were topped with tapioca cooked with wasabi. It was a delightful combination and an imaginative presentation. And not a smidge of foam in sight.

For the sweets, there were lovely little fruit cocktail skewers with berries and melon; there were sinfully rich dark chocolate pastries with creamy centers and crisp dark tops and bottoms; there were sweet little vanilla cakes with candied fruit toppings.

All in all, we had to agree that Potel et Chabot had exceeded La Grande Epicerie by a long way. So there you have it: if you are looking for a good caterer in Paris, we can certainly recommend them. They are not cheap, though they were no more expensive than the Grande Epicerie I am told. And they were worth every cent. Well, okay, I wasn't actually the one paying. But even so.

Potel et Chabot A proximité
Pavillon Gabriel
5, av Gabriel 75008 Paris
01 42 68 18 18

Posted by Meg in Sussex at July 1, 2005 11:17 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version
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