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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fauchon food store headed to Israel


After buying Carmel Winery, Pierre Besnainou plans to open branch of Parisian gourmet brand in Tel Aviv

Have you been fantasizing about a Fauchon éclair since your last trip to Paris? Well, you’ll soon be able to buy those fluffy cream puffs and little tartlets in Israel too.
Pierre Besnainou, a French Jewish millionaire who bought Israel’s Carmel Winery with his partners, and one of Fauchon’s shareholders, wants to bring the French gourmet brand to the Holy Land.
The huge store on Place de la Madeleine in Paris, which was founded about 120 years ago, has turned into a tourist attraction and operates a café as well.
Fauchon is known for its pastries, as well as imported fruit and a large variety of delicacies such as foie gras and truffles, which are purchased by loyal customers, including some of France’s presidents. The Persian shah was also said to have delicacies flown from the gourmet food store to his palace.
Besnainou owns other food businesses in France, and is also active in the fields of communications and real estate. In Israel he is one of the owners of the Chefa catering services company.
Yedioth Ahronoth has learned that Besnainou co-founded a company with the Lagaat Baochel (“Touch Food”) Group in a bid to open a Fauchon store in Tel Aviv. Lagaat Baochel operates stores offering raw materials cooking and baking supplies, as well as cooking classes with the stars of Channel 2′s “Master Chef” show.
The company is also co-partner (50%) in the Street Food Bazaar at Tel Aviv’s Sarona compound – a music and food market which will be opened this year in a building that used to be a winery – and is considering opening a Fauchon store in a different building in the compound.
Besnainou and the owners of Lagaat Baochel visited Paris several months ago and decided that a professional team from the gourmet shop would visit Israel.

‘Price difference won’t be too big’

Lagaat Baochel founder Zvika Karouby told Yedioth Ahronoth that the plan was to open one large branch in Israel which would include a café and a gourmet food store – either in Sarona or the Ramat Aviv Mall – as well as pastry and product stands in shopping malls.
Fauchon will import the delicacies to Israel, while the pastries and breads will be made on the site, with the knowledge and guidance of the French team.
Lagaat Baochel currently has restaurants in Melisron malls in Raanana, Petah Tikva, Haifa and Rishon Lezion. “We are in talks to find a place at the Ramat Aviv Mall,” Karouby says.
Aren’t you afraid of bringing a gourmet food store to Israel at a time of economic slowdown?
“We are not alone,” says Karouby. “We have a partner who is one of the Fauchon owners, who will make sure we get attractive prices. Fauchon has excellent quality, and the price differences will not be big.
“We are confident that we are making the right move. Fauchon is not very expensive. We just saw, during the visit to France, that a macaroon costs only €1.7 ($2.2) and an éclair €2.2 ($2.85). In Israel they will be sold at up to 15% more, but the quality will be excellent and identical to the original products.”‬