A few months ago, I was honored to be approached by the folks at TasteEverything to ask if I would be willing to participate in a new kind of food award. Their idea for the 2005 Independent Food Festival and Awards was that the jury (comprised of a selection of individuals like yours truly) would select a quirky original category and nominate a winner in that category. Instead of the usual "Best cheese producer in Britain" or "Best Fish Restaurant in Paris", they wanted us to seek out small categories, the kind of producers who don't usually get an award.
For more information on the event, you can read their much more eloquent press release here.
And so I spent a long time trying to come up with a fitting award. It was difficult as there are so very many good food producers in Paris. Having lived in Paris for over ten years and being very opinionated to boot, I of course know the "best" for everything - source for American foods, for English tea, for freshly shucked oysters, where the staff is most annoying and how to get into the Louvre without queuing up. (Okay, those last two aren't food related, but they are very useful!)
I'm drawing out the suspense here. To find out who finally won and why, read on!
In the end, I decided I could do no better than to honor the fine producer of my favorite honey in all of Paris, France and the world. So the award for Best Sunflower Honey in Paris (and believe me, I've tried them all!) goes to M. Guy Allart of the Ruchers du Bel Air in St. Maur des Fossées. The honey is creamy and nutty and very thick. Its wonderful flavor comest through best on a simple piece of buttered toast, but it also stands up well to a herb vinaigrette or a gravy for duck. It's the only honey I'll use when making corn bread. I've offered jars of his honey to friends and family for years and they in turn have asked for more jars to give to their friends. Congratulations, M. Allart: you are conquering the world one jar at a time with your wonderful honey!
If you are interested in sampling M. Allart's sunflower honey, you can find him every other weekend at the outdoor market in front of the Michel-Ange Auteuil metro in Paris. For more information on the stand and the other fine products he sells, you can consult my earlier post about him.
And now that you know who I've nominated, check out the rest of the winners at TasteEverything!