Tucked into a funky street in a seldomly visited part of the 10th, not too far from the Canal, you’ll find La Tête dans Les Olives, where Cédric Casanova, a former tight-rope walker, sells amazing hand-picked Sicilian olive oil and other seasonal products.
The shop itself is miniscule, with shiny metal vats lining the walls, tagged with names like Angelo, Bianca and Nunzio, evoking the artisans who produced these fragrant, delicious olive oils, each with their own distinctive taste. Depending on the season you might also find organic lemons, wild oregano, fennel seeds, pink peppercorns, heads of garlic, divine sun-dried tomatoes, salted capers, ricotta salata, bresaola and bottarga of tuna, and—not surprisingly—olives. Each product has a story and name behind it and you get the sense that Casanova knows each producer well.
Happily, the store has begun doubling as a table d’hôte during lunch and dinner with one—yes one—lone table of five squeezed into the middle of the shop. The 30€ menu takes you through most, if not all, the offerings Casanova has on hand. If you want to try the tuna and anchovies, it will cost a bit more, but not much.
On the day that I visited, Marco presented us with an antipasti of olives, tomatoes, tapenade, cucunci, and oil-soaked bread infused with salt, oregano and fennel seed. Next up was minted carrots and ricotta salta, stuffed mushrooms, and a truly incredible Sicilian sweet and sour pumpkin. We opted to try the fish plate with anchovies, and two types of tuna–bresaola and a tuna “saucisson” –all caught by Captain Cangemi, a fisherman Casanova met in Italy. Then, miraculously, our host Marco whipped up some buccoli pasta with tomatoes, eggplant, pesto and ricotta salata, all this with no real kitchen in sight and only a hot plate to cook on. We lingered a bit with espresso and almond cookies, taking in the unique experience.
I was a bit worried that with one single table it might be impossible to get in, but at least for now it didn’t seem too difficult. Perhaps the fact that you need to have a party of five in order to book is a detterent.
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La Tête dans Les Olives
Lunch served from 12-13h30 (the shop opens at 14h00)
Dinner from 20h00
Closed: Sunday and Monday
2 rue Sainte Marthe, Paris 10th.