My French Melbourne: A Taste of Paris comes to Melbourne
There’s something quite bittersweet about a French expat living in Melbourne who can’t help but feel a little homesick for France.
Yes, Corinne Robart might miss her hometown; full of friends, family and fabulous French food. But for the owner of A Taste of Paris, Melbourne’s favourite local French wholesaler, her thirst to bring a slice of France much closer to home is good news for Melburnians. And, with a resumé that includes Le Bon Marché, you can be sure her taste is impeccable…
MyFrenchLife™ got a behind-the-scenes taste tester of her gourmet goodies, from truffle mustard to milk caramel jams.
Tell us the story behind A Taste of Paris. What inspired you to start a French artisan business in Melbourne?
Just before moving to Australia, I was Food sourcing specialist for Le Bon Marché in Paris, creating and finding new concepts, flavours and trends in gourmet foods. Only artisan producers could come up with the ‘unique’, the ‘beautiful’ and the ‘unexpected’ because of their love and artistic minds for their products.
Living in Melbourne, I [saw] the interest and passion for French culture and especially French foods. The A Taste of Paris brand has been created to link my love and passion of gourmet foods and my new life in Melbourne, Australia. Julian, my amazing son, just finished his Commerce studies in Paris and decided to be a part of this amazing journey and perpetuate the ‘Family Love Affair’ by joining me in Melbourne.
Force 5 Imports – A Taste of Paris – was founded in late 2012 by importing and connecting French artisanal products with the Australians consumers.
Why did you decide to move from France to Melbourne? What was the most challenging part of adapting to the Melbourne lifestyle?
I moved to Australia for personal reasons in 2007, fell in love with Australia and its people, and settled down in Melbourne in 2008.
The most challenging part has been to stop looking for my everyday baguette…
What is a typical day like at A Taste of Paris?
During the day, we’re in touch with our retailers, sourcing new customers around the country, then late in the evening we’re in touch with our French artisans, sourcing new products and concepts, testing all samples received from our French artisans, selected our new collections, working on the packaging, labelling, and translation.
A Taste of Paris collections are composed with savoury and sweet products … but always with an amazing, surprising twist in terms of a visual, flavour, and a ‘story’ behind each product.
A new product takes almost seven to nine months between the sourcing and the first shipment to Australia for the simple reason that most of artisans doesn’t have the business structure to deal with the export rules and regulations. The result is a combined work effort between them and us.
What are your specialties?
Our collections are based on unique, beautiful and high quality products. A Taste of Paris collections are composed with savoury and sweet products – olive oils, pulp fruits’ vinegar, mustards, salt and pepper, confits, jams – but always with an amazing, surprising twist in terms of a visual, flavour, and a ‘story’ behind each product.
Selecting our French artisans and products was a little bit scary at the start, not knowing if the Australian consumers will embrace these unexpected artistic selections of products. But the response has been fantastic, receiving requests Australia-wide from professionals – gourmet stores, delis, for hampers and gift stores – to finally the consumers.
What are your most popular items?
The Gold Collection: gold truffle mustard, gold Himalayan salt, gold pepper, gold sugar and the gold bottle truffle olive oil. The collection is so unexpected, so beautiful by elevating all dishes to new heights with this unique sparkling touch of gold.
My favourite is the gold truffle mustard – a beautiful balance between the French fine mustard and the truffle flavour. The gold visual adds something very special, elegant and festive in all my dishes – salad dressing, accompaniment of my meats dishes – I just love it!
Tell us more about your team. Is it mainly a French team or international? Why is this?
It’s mainly French for the commercial part because the story behind each product is a full part of the French culture with regions of production and seasonality. Our clients love our French accent and the true story behind each product. It’s French and international for the logistical part of the business.
More and more French people are moving to Melbourne. Why do you think this is happening? Do you have many French customers?
Australia is an amazing country and Melbourne is so European, and maybe we do feel less homesick living in Melbourne.
We are a wholesaler so it is very difficult to identify the final consumers – but a lot of French names appear on our boutique online.
What do you love most about Melbourne?
We love the easy life, peaceful atmosphere, multicultural, European atmosphere, friendly and helpful people, the absence of ‘heavy’ stress – compared to my Paris life – and Melbourne is such a beautiful city.
What do you miss most about France?
I miss Paris as a city a lot: the beauty of Paris and knowing that always something is happening. The south of France where I grew up, my family and friends, and my baguette…
In Melbourne, do you have a favourite boulangerie, fromagerie, café, pâtisserie, boutique…?
For my cheeses: Emerald Hill Deli in South Melbourne Market. It’s the most amazing cheese room with an amazing selection of French cheeses.
For my French baguette made in Melbourne: Noisette on Bay Street, Port Melbourne.
For coffee and cake with friends: Chez Dré in South Melbourne.
What gourmet delights do you miss from France? What do you seek out here in Melbourne? Tell us below!
All images courtesy of A Taste of Paris.