By Murrey Nelson
As a Francophile, I am generally delighted with all things French…film, food, wine…you name it. Imagine the thrill of hearing that a real French épicerie had opened right here in Hayes Valley, at 141 Gough Street between Oak and Lily.
Featuring specialty items such as foie gras, exotic mustards, truffle butter, duck confit and macarons to die for, Gourmet & More is a charming little shop opened by proprietors Josiane and Laurent Recollon. Josiane is originally from Paris and Laurent from Brittany, but they have been in the Bay Area for many years, working and raising their family here. Laurent was in sales in the food business for a number of years, but six years ago they decided to open their own specialty wholesale business as purveyors of fine French gourmet goods to restaurants. Trying their hand at retail through a couple of “open warehouse” sales, they knew they had to get into it on a permanent basis and began looking for a space.
As happens with many of our local businesses, Josiane and Laurent did not so much choose Hayes Valley as Hayes Valley chose them. They didn’t necessarily want to be in a high rent district where the risk is greater, and they wanted to be a real destination for chefs and foodies alike. That being said, their space required quite a lot of work, rewiring and revamping. Once the space was largely complete, they took a sourcing trip to France where they stocked up on gastronomic delights along with the original French signs that whimsically adorn the shop.
Certainly the pièce de résistence of the store is the climate-controlled cheese room in the back, where Laurent often holds court, suggesting cheeses to fit any menu or palette and offering tastes to anyone who inquires. Gourmet & More found a natural audience in the faculty and families of the French American School right across the street, but Josiane confirms that more and more locals are coming in and she is getting to know many neighbors and their culinary preferences. Word of mouth has been great for their business.
The Recollons want their customers to enjoy the experience of shopping at Gourmet & More, so they go the extra mile in creating a quality shopping trip. Last in line to pay for your goodies? Enjoy a complimentary espresso while you wait. Getting hungry while shopping? Purchase a lunch combo, featuring a traditional French sandwich, chips, sparkling lemonade and something to satisfy your sweet tooth. Coming soon will be a sheltered terrace in back of the store, where you will be able to enjoy the aforementioned lunch or a cheese tray selection.
Gourmet & More is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 am to 7:00 pm, and on Sunday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Stop by and welcome Josiane and Laurent to the neighborhood. You will not leave empty-handed.