Yes, in Paris there are rows of delicious chocolates and fine pastries lined up at the patisseries on every block. But there are also prunes.  If you want to find the best prunes, look for the ones from Agen, in the Southwest of France, labeled “pruneax d’Agen, for these moist, fat prunes are worth seeking out.  We use them in braises, because they hold their shape and remain deliciously deep in their carmelized taste.  California prunes are now labeled “dried plums” and are the same variety of plum grown in France, but are smaller and less concentrated in flavor.

To “plump a prune”, soak them overnight in warm water, with enough water to cover the prunes in a bowl, to plump them up.  You can also soak them in Cognac, port, wine, fruit juice, and as the prunes plump, they’ll absorb the flavor, however stock is not a good choice.