Once upon a time, I met the perfect sandwich and fell in love. Having a nook in my stomach after having visited Parc Monceau, I wandered into Boulangépicier (73, rue de Courcelles). They offered mini-sandwiches, and I couldn’t resist one made with black olive tapenade and Sainte-Maure chèvre. I wandered down rue Pierre le Grand and ate this miraculous combination of flavors in the shelter of the Cathédrale Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky. I swear that angels sang. Since then, I’ve recreated this sandwich at home innumerable times, varying the original recipe with olive or rosemary rolls from Wegmans. Unfortunately, I can’t add in the cathedral in my small town.
In French, a boulanger (boo-lan-zjay) is a baker and an épicier (ay-pea-sea-ay) is a grocer, usually a small, local store. So it’s appropriate that Boulangépicier has both baked goods and gourmet groceries. There’s an idiom, d’épicier (day-pea-sea-ay), which means a small-town mentality. This sophisticated and super-easy sandwich is the furthest thing from small-town, even if you don’t have a cathedral handy.