Between visits to Paris, I keep a running list of places I want to go or products I want to try. Sometimes I can’t remember the original source of the notation. This year, I had a particularly ambiguous note: Poudre des Bulgares – sprinkle on top of yogurt.
Being a fan of yogurt as part of my breakfast, I decided to look for this product at the grocery store, but I wasn’t sure where to find it. What was “Poudre des Bulgares”? Was it a spice? Would I find it stocked near the yogurt for convenience? Was it like granola since it was a good topper? I wandered fruitlessly up and down aisles. I asked grocery store employees, but they just gave me gallic shrugs. I asked my French friends, but they had never heard of such a product. More gallic shrugs.
Now I had a bee in my bonnet. I had to find Poudre des Bulgares. The next step was one that I might have taken first, the internet. I searched for “Poudre des Bulgares” and found it listed as a product by a company called Épices Rœllinger. I discovered that the owner, Olivier Rœllinger, is a chef from Brittany, with a group of restaurants, who also purveys the highest quality spices.
Now that I had the bit between my teeth, to add another metaphor, the next step was to head off to the shop at 51 bis rue Sainte-Anne in the 2nd Arrondissement. Armed with a bubble tea, I ventured forth. I found far more than Poudre des Bulgares. I found Ali Babba’s cave. Épices Rœllinger is dark, fragrant, and stocked to the rafters with exotic herbs and spices. There were about fifteen different types of vanilla beans alone. And there it was – Poudre des Bulgares, with the added subtext “Pour parfumer votre yaourt,” which means “To flavor your yogurt.”In addition, Ali Babba’s assistant recommended it as a topper for ice cream.
I bought a jar of Poudre des Bulgares as yet untried and sprinkled some on my fromage blanc the next morning. And the verdict? Delicious and unlike any other taste. Its primary ingredients are palm sap (who knew that was a thing?), toasted sesame seeds., roasted flax-seed, a little sugar from the French island of Maurice, a blend of vanillas from Madagascar and French Polynesia, and a touch of cardamom, saffron, ginger, orange peel and one perfect dried rose bud. Now that I’ve found it, I’ll definitely be back for more. My quest was both successful and memorable.