We had a dinner party this weekend. I cooked meat, so it wasn't truly zero waste, but everything I bought was package-and-plastic-free. Whenever we invite guests, I visit En Vrac (69 rue de Maubeuge, Métro Gare du Nord) for natural wines, local spirits, olive oil, and vinegar, then Causses Saint-Martin for zero-waste aperitifs and ingredients. The staff at both shops complimented my bulk bags, bottles, and jars. "C'est marrant, vous économisez le papier!" "C'est mignon!" "C'est efficace!" We invited twenty people, borrowing plates and cutlery from guests and wine glasses from the shop. Here's what I brought shopping / what I bought:
In the panier
5x7 bulk bags (ingredients purchased at Causses)
Including travel time, errands took an hour and a half. Somehow, this manages to be faster than going to Carrefour, wading through crowded aisles, suffering in line, and rushing down Rue Cler trying to get the rest of this stuff. One bottle of whiskey or vodka at Carrefour is more expensive than what we spent on all the alcohol combined, and our foodie friend- who produces excellent wines from his own vineyard- raved about everything we got at En Vrac.
Using these ingredients and what we already had on hand, I made mango salsa, butter chicken (which contained neither chicken nor butter), mashed vitelotte, tandoori roasted cauliflower, fresh salad with chèvre and homemade vinaigrette, côte de boeuf with pesto mayonnaise, a cheese board, and chocolate mousse with chantilly, which my husband shook to perfection in a mason jar. I started preparing food around 6 pm and vacuumed at 6:18. By the time guests began arriving at 6:30, I could relax, eat, and enjoy their company because dinner was practically done. When everyone left- after 3 am, long past the last Métro- clean-up was easy. Without trash to take out or leftovers to put away, I washed the napkins and went early the next morning to deposit food scraps and recycle guests' bottles. My husband woke up to a clean sink and spotless apartment, which sounds smug because it is.
Secondhand Ikea towels used as napkins, similar here
We ended the evening on the balcony, watching the lights go out one by one from Invalides, Trocadero, La Defense, Tour Montparnasse, and the Eiffel Tower. "When we come here, we see all the sights of Paris," commented our friend Clement. Everyone was sweet, complimentary, and gave thoughtful gifts and thank you cards. After all that meat, my husband decided to go vegetarian!