A Simple Paris Breakfast

3rd September 2015

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

The only thing that Maud Zilnyk, who owns the organic food shop Epicerie Generale in Paris, physically cooks for breakfast when we come to visit is a boiled egg. She also boils water for black tea and a hot lemon drink (with the juice of half a lemon or a full one depending on how much she needs to “purify” herself).

The rest is just very good ingredients – all of them organic – laid out very simply on the breakfast table: granola with physalis[footnote]Physalis peruviana. Sometimes known as uchuva, Cape gooseberry, or, in France, as “love in a cage” (amour en cage) [/footnote] and sheep milk yoghurt; fruit-and-nut bread thinly sliced; ham and cheese (she lays out six different types including Fourme d’Ambert, Tomme Brebis-Chèvre and Cantal); and some fresh seasonal fruit.

If the ingredients are good enough, as they are on Maud’s table, you don’t really need to do anything else.


Organic granola
Yoghurt (sheep or goat’s milk)
Seasonal fruit (Maud has grapes and physalis)
Bread and butter
A medium-sized egg
A selection of cheeses
Water for boiling
Black loose-leaf tea
1 lemon, squeezed


First, boil the egg. Fill a small pan with cold water, add the egg, and put the pan on the heat. Cover with a lid. Bring the water to the boil, and once it is simmering turn the heat off. Leave the egg in the pan, with the lid on, for 1 to 5 minutes depending on how hard you want your egg to be.

Meanwhile boil fresh water for tea and hot lemon. Place the tea leaves in a warmed pot, one teaspoon per cup. Take the water off just before it reaches a rolling boil – 85C is a good temperature for black tea if you’re being precise – and pour it over the leaves. Let the tea steep for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on how strong you like it, then strain into a second warmed pot or directly into the cup.

For the lemon, squeeze a half or a full lemon, add the juice to a glass and top up with hot water.

Pour some granola into a bowl and top with fruit and yoghurt (and milk if required). If you have extra fruit, serve it on the side.

Arrange the ham, bread, cheese and boiled egg on the table with the granola, fruit, tea and water. Eat in whatever order you prefer.


Posted 3rd September 2015

In Recipes


Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin