One of the secrets of La Boucherie Cosse is that they source they meat from the market in Rungis!

One of the secrets of La Boucherie Cosse is that they source they meat from the market in Rungis!

Let me assure you: the life of an independent butcher is no walk in the park for anyone who wants to guarantee the quality of their products. As a devoted fan of the homemade terrines from La Boucherie Cosse (on Rue Poncelet, just a short distance from your hotel), I decided to investigate the source of their fabulous success with a tour of the so-called “belly of Paris”: Rungis International Market. Created in 1969, Rungis extends over nearly one square mile and supplies 65% of the capital city, making it the largest fresh produce market in Europe. I arrange to meet Valéry Cosse (Thomas’s father, for those following the family history) at 4 am on Rue de Charonne. I am driven to the mysterious market, open only to those with a Rungis Market buyer’s card, in Les Boucheries Cosse’s refrigerated lorry.

Obviously, we will be heading straight for the “meat products” sector. It is divided into different areas for the different types of meats: beef, veal, lamp, pork, poultry, game, tripe, etc.  In this completely unknown world, I quickly realize that I am very lucky to be initiated into it by Valéry. Everyone knows him.  Added to that is the fact that this world is 99.99% male, with the only other women behind the glass windows of the billing department. For Valéry, a visit to Rungis is also about seeing his family. They plan to meet up in the bistro in the beef sector, and the one in the pork section. I am thrilled: I love coffee and, since I’m not wearing warm enough clothes, a moment in the heat is more than welcome! Everyone catches up on each other’s latest news. They talk about ongoing problems.

Rungis is experiencing the same economic issues as the outside world. The largest wholesalers have absorbed the smallest. So, there is a real risk of monopoly in each type of meat, or even for all meat products as a whole. Eventually, we resume our shopping. Valéry rejects a shipment of calf’s liver. But that happens very rarely, because Valéry is loyal to his suppliers who full well understand his quest for quality. He drops me back at my car at 9 am. Valéry’s day will continue until 8 pm.