Every time I pass by La Cure Gourmande on l’Avenue de l’Opera, it is always full of customers and it’s not hard to see why. When you walk through their bright mustard yellow doors you can’t help but be taken aback by the interior bursting with colour from all the candies and their kaleidoscopic packaging! Started in a town in the South of France named Balaruc-les-Bains in 1989, La Cure Gourmande now has locations all over the country and has even sprinkled itself into Belgium and Spain. There are six stores in Paris, the newest one having just recently opened on the quaint streets of Ile Saint Louis. They specialize in traditional French sweets and biscuits and entering one of these stores is any child’s (or sugar loving adult’s) dream.
Usually you are greeted by one of the friendly staff who will offer you a sample of one of their biscuits, getting you hooked from the start. The biscuits are arranged in mountainous piles that you can select from with the provided plastic gloves. Picking them off the neatly arranged hills is a treat in itself as you can choose from those filled with chocolate, fig and coconut to others with a sandy texture that crumble in your mouth when you bite into them.
The rest of the store is overflowing with candies and chocolates for you to drool over and eventually place in your constantly expanding bag of treats. There are the rainbow of ‘Choupettes’ or lollipops (I grabbed a peach one), a variety of individually wrapped caramels (in my bag goes a mocha one), nougats (must try one for research…) and ‘Berlandises’ that are hard candies with a fruity gooey centre.
Then there are the ‘Olives au Chocolat’ which only closely resemble their name and are actually the most addictive chocolate covered almonds ever. Their well known ‘Calissons” are little chewy white almond treats that stand out against the rest of the rainbow around you. Finally you realize that if you don’t get over to the cashier and leave, you will end up buying the whole store. The little blond girl featured on all their gift-ready tins, pails and boxes smiles in agreement with her caramelized grin.
Don’t resist the temptation of walking into La Cure Gourmande, as it will result in you leaving with a cheerful yellow bag of treats that will spread joy to your friends and family in Paris or back home. That is if you can fight the urge to eat them yourself.
For locations: http://www.la-cure-gourmande.fr/francais/magasins.asp