While many couples may go out on the town on Friday night in Paris (or anywhere else for that matter), we’ve gone and created a bit of a twist on the traditional Friday night date night. In our case, we go to the restaurant supply store to stock up on supplies needed for the CupCakery.
We typically go once a week to the gigantic restaurant-only store. Sometimes less depending if the weather was crummy that week, since in the off-season, weather drives sales. The store is only open to those with a food-business license and tax documentation, so it’s unfortunately not open to the public. Nonetheless, I figured I’d give you a tour of a typical night there. In case you’re wondering why we go at night, it’s really the only time both of us are free. We both work during the day, with The Girl finishing up around 7PM or so. Then a workout gets fit in, before heading there around 9PM – just before they close at 10PM.
The store is located about 2 miles away from the shop. But, we first need to pickup a little Autolib car before heading over.
Just like at Costco, we scan our membership card in to be entered. Though here, an automatic turnstile lets in us.
Typically The Girl has a very set list of ingredients she picks up. For the most part, there’s actually very little on the perishable side that we have to get every week. When it comes down to it, it’s really just Milk, Eggs and Butter. We get fruit too for cupcakes, but the quantities at Metro (that’s the name of the store) are simply too big for us. We really don’t need 25 kilos (over 50 pounds) of bananas. We can pick out smaller bags, but it’s honestly just as easy for us to buy these ‘on-demand’ at the grocery store a dozen yards down the street.
From the standpoint of ingredients the major ones that we buy virtually every week in large quantities are: Eggs, Butter, Sugar, and Flour.
For example, the flour and sugar we do buy in 25kg (50lbs+) bags:
And not just one type of sugar either, but multiple types – from standard granulated sugar, to confectioners sugar.
If it’s a week where we’re picking up chocolate, we swing by the chocolate aisle. Yes, an entire aisle. We get a few different varieties, from milk to dark, and then different varieties within that. For example, some we use for melting into either the cake or the icing. And others are used in shavings or other creations.
After the chocolate, comes the eggs. We typically buy these in 90-egg boxes, unless there is an event coming up that week, in which case we’d buy the 180-egg cases.
I keep hoping I can come up with a reason to buy these little quail eggs. Plus, they’re so cheap!
In fact in general, I’m sorta like the toddler in the supermarket when it comes to Metro. I’m always wandering off finding interesting things I think we should buy. Things that clearly have no relation to the Cupcakery.
This is especially true when I wander into the cheese aisle:
For example, an entire section dedicated to Buffalo Mozzarella (within the Italian cheeses):
Yup, added that to the cart.
And then there’s cheddar cheese. Silly you might think, but you can’t find cheddar here in the grocery store. In fact, this is the ONLY place I’ve seen it. I mostly use it for tacos. So I shred up a bunch and freeze it. And then I cut up a bunch for little cheddar sticks in snack packs. Then I still have a TON left. So I seal it up and double-bag it and hope it stays good.
The funny thing is that it’s about the same price as a normal-sized block of cheddar costs in the US. ;)
So at this point, we’re in the cold section. Which is actually an ENTIRE portion of the store. Like walking into a giant freezer the size of Rite Aid.
And for the most part, about the only thing we get in here for the CupCakery is milk and butter. Thus, despite the fact that I spend the majority of my time in the store in here, it’s mostly for me.
(Warning: This next section is not vegetarian friendly)
Within the cold section is also the meat section:
Or, the ‘leg of anything you want’ section:
I keep trying to convince The Girl that we should have one of these in our kitchen at home. Just slice off a chunk of Serrano ham when you need it. Perfect!
Or, you can get the entire animal and cook to order.
Sometimes we get smaller stuff here. And sometimes The Girl recreates the Dancing Goose dance from this past fall.
There’s also a massive seafood section. And while the prices are generally good by Paris standards, we find that stuff in this section is generally in the same range as Costco prices in the US.
There’s also a huge produce section.
You’d be amazed at how big the potato section is. And, along with it, the French fries (frites) section is. Literally an entire wall about 50 feet long of French fries.
We are proud though that the Zucchini Blossoms are still WAY cheaper when we pick them out at the farm, like last fall. :)
Then we run around and pick up all sorts of other random things. For example, 22 pounds of butter (10kg), and half a dozen Nutella containers. In case you’re curious, those giant Nutella plastic jars you see are actually more expensive by weight than cheaper containers, which is why you see them for show, but in reality everyone uses the smaller containers (watch the next time you’re in Paris and order a Nutella crepe). After that, we head towards the line to check out.
Then we load up the little Autolib for the drive back:
When we get to the shop we unload everything and I go drop-off the car about 100 yards away.
Meanwhile, The Girl gets started on inventory. Every item has to be inventoried in (from a food safety standpoint). Which includes writing down serial numbers and dates of everything.
Once I’m back from dropping off the car, I usually get the job of taking all the eggs out and putting them in large metal trays. We’re not allowed to have any cardboard in the food production area.
Finally, after everything is done at the shop, we pile in all the good stuff for our house, and put it in a container to take back home. This night, it was quite heavily Italian-focused.
So there ya have it – our Friday night date night.
Thanks for reading, and have a great Friday everyone!