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Jim D.

Has L'Epicérie Closed?

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The website for L'Epicérie (the online ingredient supplier in Brooklyn, NY) has been closed for some weeks now, with a message that suggests something dire happened to the "damaged site" and saying "We'll be back soon." But for a business that I think sells only online, it would seem that a damaged site is a serious matter requiring immediate attention. Does anyone have any info on this? I depend on them for chocolate ingredients in fairly small quantities--something very difficult to find elsewhere, especially at what I consider L'Epicérie's quite reasonable prices.

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Not sure. I used to shop with them fairly regularly but there was a point where their shipping charges to Canada suddenly jumped up a large amount all in one shot so I started looking elsewhere. I agree with you on their selection and prices though, be a shame if they shut it down.

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13 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

... so I started looking elsewhere.

 

Did you find anything in your search?

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2 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 

Did you find anything in your search?


I'm not sure what you purchase from them. I mainly purchased modernist ingredients and some pastry related items. Modernist stuff is easy to get in various sized packaging through Modernist Pantry, Qzina became a good source for the pastry stuff but they were taken over by (or merged into, not sure) another group and no longer ship in Canada. I no longer have need for the modernist ingredients. Still a fan, just don't actually do much of it anymore. The pastry stuff, I don't need in the volume that I did when I was catering so it's not too hard to find most of it as I need it. I haven't really settled into a new "go to" place.

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That does seem strange.  @Porthos I don't think we can deduce a whole lot from a couple of unhappy customers from 18 months ago.

 

Jim, what are you looking for?  Maybe somebody has a source or extra.  It's a total drag when those hard to find ingredients and supplies get even harder to find  :angry:

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I bought quite a few things from them: glucose, invert sugar, that sort of thing, but esp. hazelnut paste, hazelnut praline paste (they repackaged the large pails from Cacao Barry), and the "silk" (completely smooth) pistachio paste from Agrimontana. Those last three ingredients go stale rather quickly (there are some inexpensive U.S. ones that are stale on opening), and so L'Epicérie's smaller containers were perfect. Also, Cacao Barry's feuilletine, Michigan tart cherries, small amounts of new couvertures I wanted to try, the list goes on. 

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Okay, yeah... I get a lot of those sorts of things from chocolat-chocolat and vanilla food company Vanilla food company does flat rate shipping, $7 within Canada and $17 to the U.S. but it still may not be worth it for you to have it crossing the border depending on if duties would be required. I'm betting there has to be another source for those sorts of things in the quantities you want somewhere in the U.S. I just don't know what they would be.

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I can sell you some feiulletine if you need it - I just opened a new box.  It's light and not a problem if it gets crushed going cross country  :)

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Just for the record, where did you get your feuilletine?

 

Thanks for the offer. I have some at the moment; I was just assembling an order for L'Epicérie when I discovered their problem. I like to order as much as I can think of at the same time (feuilletine seems to stay fresh forever) so as to save on shipping and so as not to run out at an inopportune moment. And the same thinking leads me to try to locate a backup in case that site is not fixed. I did see some other places that carry that particular type of pistachio paste, but not a source that had the variety that L'Epicérie has/had. Chef Rubber has some of the basic items, but usually at a higher price.

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Does Chef's Warehouse or Albert Uster carry the supplies you need? Perhaps you can find out who is supplying your local bakeries and see if they will setup an account with you?

 

Have your tried freezing your hazelnut pastes and pistachio paste? I freeze all my nuts and nut pastes and have not had any problems with them going stale or rancid.

 

If you are willing to come into the DC area upon occasion... I could possibly split some of my stock with you. PM me if you want to figure something out. @lebowits may also be able to help.


Edited by curls (log)

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Yes, I freeze nuts and nut pastes. But when I knew (or thought I knew) that I had a ready source, I didn't buy too much at once. Thank for the offer to help. I'll see what happens. I'll also check with Chef's Warehouse and Albert Uster.

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I get feuilletine through Peterson.  They have warehouses here & NJ.

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I just wanted to provide an update on L'Epicérie:  Still the same message on the website. I phoned, but the voicemail was full, so no message possible.  Quite a mystery. Meanwhile I will look into other options; first explorations have not been encouraging, as most vendors (e.g., Albert Uster) offer large sizes and nothing else. If anyone has other options not mentioned in this thread, I would be interested.

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For the record,  there is a new message on the L'Epicérie website (quoted below). I have spent untold hours trying to locate alternate vendors, all at higher prices than L'Epicérie (the same pistachio paste is 50% higher at the only other vendor I found), and was going to have to order from multiple suppliers rather than this single one, so whereas I am a bit annoyed that the original message wasn't clearer, I am glad that prospects are looking better--though I would say far from a sure thing (e.g., the September 1 date has passed). I'm just hoping the "repair" of the website doesn't result in all prices being 50% higher. That would be an unpleasant turn of events!

 

Dear Customer, 
The store is temporarily closed and will reopen hopefully by September 1st.

The site has now been repaired and we are in the process of moving to a new and bigger warehouse.
We will resume our shipping as soon as the moving is completed and our warehouse
is fully functionning again.

Thank you for your understanding and please accept our sincere apologies for 
the inconvenience this may cause you.
L'Epicerie team


Edited by Jim D. (log)

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I've ordered tens of thousands of dollars of products from them always without an issue. The owner does have a unique personality with extremely high standards and zero tolerance or need to do business with those looking for cheap junk though. I much respect him for that. I hope they hurry up and come back online as they do have a decent amount of ingredients that are hard/impossible to find elsewhere. The euro-vanilla for example I get exclusively from him. Nobody can touch his pricing or reliability in stocking it.

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Checked this AM and saw that the L'Epicierie web site is up and running again.  Glad to see them back.  I've bought a lot from them in the past.

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It appears that my enthusiasm was a bit premature. Yes, the site is up. The pistachio paste I always bought is no longer there, but there is another product from Agrimontana. Before I ordered it, I wanted to find out how it differs from the other one. Neither an inquiry via the website nor a phone message has been answered.

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5 hours ago, Jim D. said:

It appears that my enthusiasm was a bit premature. Yes, the site is up. The pistachio paste I always bought is no longer there, but there is another product from Agrimontana. Before I ordered it, I wanted to find out how it differs from the other one. Neither an inquiry via the website nor a phone message has been answered.

I can't comment on Agrimontana's pistachio paste - but Jean Marie had a crap load of their peel in his fridge and it was wonderful stuff!

 

Here's Saveur's take on it - https://www.saveur.com/best-pistachio-paste-butter#page-2

 

 


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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Yes, that is the pistachio paste I have been using. L'Epicérie sold it for $116; the only non-wholesale place I have found that carries it has it for $175! I suspect L'Epicérie just didn't have enough customers for the product. I think the other Agrimontana paste is less smooth than the one labeled "Silk," but I wanted to find out before I bought it (there is another product that is a mix of pistachio and almond and green coloring--which did not appeal to me). The Agrimontana website is of no help at all.

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I was going to see if the site was working by ordering a pail of the cold-use neutral glaze they carry but it's listed as currently out of stock. That sent me checking a couple of Canadian online sources for pastry supplies I've used that didn't carry it in the past. As it turns out, one of them now carries it and, though more expensive than the l'epicerie stuff, by the time I factored in currency conversion and an educated guess on what the shipping cost from the US would be, it's close enough to avoid the cross-border stuff. So the question of their return remains unanswered...

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Since I am just about out of pistachio paste, I think I will order a container of the one they list (not the one also labeled pistachio paste by Agrimontana, but which contains almonds--if I want pistachios, I want pistachios) and see what happens. I'll post the results here. As I thought about the ingredient more, I realized that with the pistachio gianduja that I make most often, total smoothness does not matter.

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I'm so glad you posted about this.  I hadn't realized they weren't in operation for awhile. I usually order at this time of the year.

 

I just placed an order for some of the black "Pearl" cocoa, candied fruit salad and the citron, and some chestnuts.

I can get the Agrimontana products elsewhere but in amounts too large for me to use and I like the "fruit salad" for my stollen and for panettone.  The citron is for a butter/cream cheese pound cake  that is as close as I could get to recreating a "tea" cake my grandpa's cook made when I was a child and which was a favorite of my great-grandmother.  It originally called for a pound of butter and a pound of "strained and pressed clabbered cream" (essentially cream cheese) but I cut it in half because I don't need a large round cake.  Only candied citron with walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted, although sliced almonds were used a few times. 

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@andiesenji, I would be very interested in hearing how the order turns out. Do you mind telling what the "elsewhere" is where you have found Agrimontana products? Pacific Gourmet in Brisbane, CA has the pistachio paste, but I get the impression from their website that they sell only in large quantities (3kg in a case). The only other place I found is SOS Chefs in Manhattan, where the price is the aforementioned $175 per kilo.

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