From France with Love
An Interview with the owners of The French Gourmand
By PAMELA BARKER
North Palm Beach Life
Recently on a cloudy afternoon, I headed away from the beach and into the Crystal Tree Shopping Center on US Highway 1, in North Palm Beach, because exploring is what I do.
Once outside my car, I strolled around and quickly discovered a wonderful shop. The recently opened, The French Gourmand, which offers French wine, as well as authentic French cheese, food and specialty items.
Stepping inside, I was welcomed by the smiling face of the Proprietor, Laurent Bressan. He, his wife Stefanie, and their three young children sold their home in the South of France and permanently relocated in this area to manage the shop.
They, along with their American partner, Donald Battjes, who also maintains a residence in France and recently retired from the Los Angeles Museum of Art, are dedicated to bringing a little bit of France to the good life and people in North Palm Beach. Although their business is thoroughly French, Mr. Battjes stressed the importance of utilizing the business services of Palm Beach County professionals.
As I browsed the shop, I admired the cashier counter, as it is quite unique. Donald and Stefanie were quick to educate me on all the display cases and shelving, which were made by Laurent, a former contractor on restaurant, retail and residential projects in places such as Cannes, Nice and Marseilles.
In addition to the wine and food items, I lingered over a variety of specialty items unique to the Provencale region in the south of France, and was inspired to host my own little French-themed evening.
So seeking advice and discussing the various wares with the owners, who were more than happy and willing to offer suggestions, was a treat.
A resident of Pasadena, Battjes, in town for just a week, took time to chat about the perfect appetizer menu. He offered several suggestions, including; A favorite wine, imported olives, cheese, pate, foie gras, pickles, tapenade and any selection of toast points or crackers. But, there are many combinations for a tempting meal starter.
One of his favorite wines is a French Rose, by Whispering Angel.
Lovely Stefanie Bressan (I can not believe she has had three children) showed me the imported soaps, as well as handmade bags and baby items. I happen to know someone expecting twins in February, so something from France will make the perfect gift.
In the future, the shop has plans to host weekly wine tastings, and that is always a welcome event.
You can visit their shop, or their website. They also ship their products if you want to order online.
One last word...don't leave without at least one of their baked goods, made and imported from France. They bake them right here, and I can tell you...they are delicious!
Meilleurs voeux, The French Gourmand.