Latest Issue

Matters of taste: it’s all in the ingredients

"For a full half-hour my mouth was a red wet ball of fireworks"

There is a spice shop around the corner from my apartment in Montmartre called Le Comptoir Colonial. Inside is a white-haired lady called Josiane Anne, kind and enthusiastic—“Paprika, yes of course! How strong do you prefer it? Smoked or sweet?”—who has worked there since 1973, when it was still an old-fashioned dry goods store, a graineterie, selling beans and flour out of sacks. Le Comptoir Colonial is one of my favourite shops. The place smells of a hundred scents, each bright and curious and promising. And there is Josiane, standing in the middle beside mounds of multi-coloured spices, eagerly…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect