Euro Gourmet Tour — Eating Las Vegas
Published April 25, 2011 | By John Curtas
Have you ever wondered how all those delicious prepared foodstuffs, from exotic preserved lemons to Perigourdine black truffles fit for a king to ultra-exclusive olive oils (from olives picked only by the light of a full moon), get to Las Vegas?
Perhaps you’ve asked yourself: “Self, just where does Joel Robuchon and 2010 James Beard Chef of the Year Claude Le Tohic (and Desert Companion 2010 Chef of the Year Pascal Sanchez) get their exquisite, hand-churned Le Bordier butter?”
Or maybe, just maybe, you sit around the house most evenings (as ELV does), pondering the nature of argan oil or where to find the perfect acacia honey….or wondering what fleur de sel looks like in its natural state.
If these questions sound familiar to you, then Paul Mechkor — a Moroccan/American/Las Vegan — has all the answers. Paul, you see, owns and runs Euro Gourmet — a wholesale, to-the-trade warehouse of ultra-fine comestibles that many a chef and restaurant in Las Vegas can’t live without.
One of those products, Naturvie olive oil, is so special the bottles are dated and numbered. The syrupy elixir within comes from olives picked only during a full moon, which are then crushed within two hours of harvest so that the hydrophobic substance is the freshest and least spoiled it can be. Mechkor explained to us that a single bottle costs him over 30 euros (almost $45) before taxes and shipping are figured in, making the retail price of one of these honeys roughly equal to a controlled substance.
Unfortunately, unless you’re a chef or know one, laying your hands on many of these products is difficult to impossible. But when you consider that the can of black truffles above (ordered specially for Mon. Robuchon and Le Tohic) costs over $250, it’s just as well that we mere mortals should experience these things in small doses. Regardless of price, it is a wonderment to us that things like salts, olive oils, Minus 8 vinegars, Perigord truffles and exotic spices are now taken for granted in our humble burg.
Published April 25, 2011 | By John Curtas | Eating Las Vegas