Kitchen Talk - The French Lunch Blog
Top 5 Affordable French Gourmet Condiments
In spirit of our huge in-store Condiments Summer Promotion — 15% off all Pantry items! — here are our top ten favourite summertime gourmet condiments. You can BBQ with these or eat them with junk food; it doesn't matter! These condiments taste great whether you're putting them on potato chips or ciabatta bread.
Bénédicta is a very popular condiments company from France that appeals to anyone familiar with the word "gourmand". Gourmand, broadly defined as a love of eating, is a philosophy Bénédicta embraces... in moderation, of course. As do we. We carry four different Bénédicta sauces for you gourmands out there:
A famous purée dish of olives, French capers, and olive oil, you'll find residents of almost every Northern and Southern European country snacking on this tasty dip. But tapenade isn't just olives. Many other variations exist, and we've got five varieties (including classic black olive tapenade):
Tapenade is the ultimate comfort food, despite its fancy name. It's very healthy, too, thanks to its whole ingredients and generous helpings of olive oil. If you love dip but want to cut down on sugar and calories, choose tapenade! Tapenade and celery go great together.
Compote is a sweet condiment from France, most often served with gourmet cheeses. It's created by cooking chunks of softened fruit in water or syrup, with herbs and spices added to the mix. Together, these ingredients produce a rich, thick, and naturally sweet syrup you can add to cakes, cheeses, breads, or eat plain. Think of compote as the upgraded version of jam. Serve with whipped cream for a gourmet dessert! Four types of compote for you to try:
While these compotes are meant to be eaten with cheeses, they'll still taste great on other foods. We recommend cherry and almond compote on a stack of freshly-made pancakes, with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Yuuuummm.
Not to be confused with chocolate truffles. Truffle, the most gourmet ingredient of them all! The famous and extravagantly priced fungus (fungus!) is found in the wild using dogs and... hogs! Yes, pigs are trained to hunt for truffles. The humble truffle itself has an earthy taste to it. Today, creating truffle-flavoured condiments is easier than ever. Check out our selection!
So much truffle, so little time. Dress salads, spaghetti, pastas, pizza, and Italian foods with the oils. The truffle cream is for your charcuterie board — if that's not your thing, then eat it with potato chips or finger foods! Truffle mustard adds gourmet to hot dogs and kebabs, while truffle honey is a wholesome ingredient for a wholesome pancake.
Ever heard of the balsamic reduction? This method involves heating balsamic vinegar to its boiling point and then simmering it until it thickens. The final result is a unique, sweet taste. The reduction is often applied to salads, like Caprese. But you can create gourmet French fries, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs & more out of a balsamic glaze. We carry two types of balsamic vinegar:
We look forward to feeding you,
4 Appetizers to Try Before Dinner
We're sure that you'll enjoy these appetizers (hors d'oeuvres if you're French) even if you're no gourmet buff. With that said, let's begin!
Blini with Red Caviar & Sour Cream. We know what you're thinking. Caviar on a tiny Russian pancake? But why? This gourmet starter dates back to imperial times, when it was served in czars' palaces. Eventually, the dish found its way into France — no surprise there, considering how close the two countries were in the late 19th century. Our blini can be defrosted and heated up easily. Ready within 30 seconds!
Potatoes au Gratin with Porcini. This tasty potato-mushroom pie (made with Italian porcini mushrooms) can be eaten by itself, but we've chosen to turn it into a starter instead. Gratin refers to the browned crust on any French dish, which is composed of breadcrumbs, cheese, and sometimes eggs and butter. Eat before or with stews like coq au vin!
Escargots with Butter. As a French food shop, if there's one item that has to be on our menu no matter what, it's this one (duh!). Here we have traditional Helix shells stuffed with butter, garlic, parsley, red peppers, and salt. If it's your first time eating escargot, you may need a drink to go along with it. Preferably alcoholic. 😉
Pacific Salmon Stuffed Shell. Stuffed shell foods are found all across European gourmet. Escargot is one unique example. This starter is more conventional, but just as good. The stuffed shell's plain name hides its true nature as a flavour-packed dish, with white wine, vegetables, shrimp, potatoes, Swiss and mozzarella cheeses coming together in a lightly spiced salmon pie. Squirt a bit of lemon juice on top and serve!
What's your favourite starter? Is it on this list? In any case, we hope our picks inspired you to try one of these fine hors d'oeuvres in the future. Drop by 187 Cross Avenue and chat with us any time. We love seeing new faces!
Before you leave, please consider voting for us. We've been nominated as Best New Business/Store 2016/2017 by the Oakville Beaver's Readers' Choice Award panel. Voting has already begun. 😄
Until next time...
Au revior (we look forward to feeding you),
5 Gourmet Condiments You Need to Try Right Now
BBQ season is in full swing. What better way to impress family, friends and yourself than with affordable gourmet condiments. Some of these you may have never even heard of! That's OK. French Lunch is here to cultivate your culinary knowledge. Make fine dining a staple at your next BBQ with these five gourmet super condiments.
This amazing steak sauce from France is meant to garnish steaks, but use it to garnish sides too! This sauce consists of beef simmered in red wine, usually red Burgundy wine. A scrumptious haute cuisine staple that you can drizzle over your Parisian potatoes after BBQing them. Spread the juiciness equally!
This oil takes the traditional Provençal herb mixture, Herbes de Provence, and distills it into an aromatic gourmet condiment! A sunflower oil-infused mix combines rosemary and thyme for a lovely taste. Ideal for salad dressings.
Where would French cuisine be without confit, the famous gourmet preserve? Confits come in many varieties, especially meats — the most popular being duck confit. But as we all know, you can preserve vegetables too! This olive oil- and herb-rich onion confit will leave a sweet but hearty taste in your mouth. Who can say no to caramelized onions? Not us! Serve with steak or any main course, meat-laden or otherwise.
If you read our blog, tweets, and FB posts, you know how much we love this classic Provençal meal-come-condiment. Yes, tapenade can be eaten by itself on bread, but that’s a bit boring, don’t you agree? Try grilled zucchini with this olive & fig tapenade or serve it on crackers topped with mozzarella or brie… we recommend brie and fig tapenade because of the awesome contrast. Three flavours at once!
The humble, yet gourmet truffle is a fungus… so what on earth is it doing in honey? Sounds like a strange combination, but we assure you that it’s a fantastic one. When white truffles and acacia honey are blended together, the result is a naturally earthy and sweet taste. We recommend you glaze your grilled meats with truffle honey, especially chicken. Cheese lovers can eat it with their favourite aged cheeses. Consider baking your cheeses first!
Which condiment do you look forward to trying? Enjoy summer sprucing up your BBQ game with affordable gourmet from French Lunch.
We look forward to feeding you!
10 Ways to Lose Weight Easily
If you're struggling to lose weight, here are 10 tips to help you stay lean. Remember, losing weight doesn't mean starving yourself. It means that your eating habits, food, and portion sizes are healthy. Moderation is key, and we embrace that philosophy here at French Lunch.
1. Drink water!! We can't stress this enough. Skip the colas, the juices & the shakes whenever you can. Drink whenever you feel thirsty, and drink some more water when you feel hot. No need to drink 8 ounces a day!
2. Figure out the amount of calories you burn daily using a calorie calculator or guide. If you don't want to bother with that, then just remember this baseline: men need 2,500 kcal a day while women need 2,000 kcal a day. Eat accordingly.
3. Related to the above tip: the average healthy meal is around 700 to 800 calories. If you don't feel like calorie-counting, then just make sure you don't snack too often. That giant fudge brownie can be sliced in half and saved for later. Three meals a day + lots of water in-between = no more hunger pangs after a few weeks!
4. Speaking of three meals a day, keep a consistent eating schedule. Eat at the same time each day no matter what. In Europe, eating times are strict. You absolutely can't skip a meal!
5. Chew your food. Take time to eat. Too many of us rush through meals these days. Part of the traditional family dinner not only helps you bond with others, but also meters your eating habits. Slow, thoughtful chewing means better digestion and more enjoyment. Don't you want to enjoy your food? Don't eat mindlessly!
6. Smaller utensils. Yup, you read right. If you use smaller plates, you'll trick your tummy into thinking that you're eating the same amount, when in reality, you're eating less. You'll get used to eating small & healthy portions this way without stressing out.
7. Cheat days are a-okay. Not all of us can go cold turkey. No need stress yourself out over not eating healthy 100% of the time. Treat yourself and you won't hate yourself! Go ahead and eat the junk food of your choice... but in small portions. 1-3 cookies, 1-2 pieces of chocolate, 1 small milkshake, etc.
8. Eat a wide variety of foods from different cultures. When attempting to lose weight, people often get stuck in a rut. You might think that only one type of diet and one type of meal plan will lose you weight. Nope! Instead, make eating a fun & healthy activity by exploring different cuisines. Mediterranean, Thai, African, Latin American.... all cuisines have healthy meals. You're not limited to just one!
9. Eat fatty foods. Wait... eating high-fat foods when you're trying to lose fat? What is this lunacy? Traditional nutritionists dictate that we should eat less fat. But the keto diet says otherwise. This high-fat, low-calorie diet encourages fats & protein from animals and vegetables, but absolutely no grains!
No need to follow the keto diet completely. Eat healthy fat like eggs, fish, steamed vegetables, butter, cheese, etc. more and your hunger pangs will go away. Eat grain some days, not every day. Alternate between no-grain days and grain days for a healthy balance.
10. Exercise. The dreaded word many of us don't want to hear. Lean bodies are made in the kitchen, yes. But exercise not only helps you maintain weight, it also helps your body with the aging process. Think about it this way: do you want to be old & frail, or old & strong? If you don't want to spend your retirement money on health bills, get your joins in action! Even just walking a mile or so a day helps.
Visit https://frenchlunch.ca for all your health needs. 5% discount on frozen and packaged items for Presto card users! 187 Cross Avenue. Be there.
Canada Day 150: BBQ Party Ideas!
Sooo. The long awaited holiday is nearly here! The 150th birthday we’ve all (well, us Canadians) been waiting for is this Saturday! How will you celebrate our country this year? Perhaps with a backyard BBQ party at a friend or family member’s house, or with your neighbours at an upcoming block party. Maybe the gathering will be more intimate, and take place indoors until nighttime, when the fun starts with a fun fireworks display at the local park!
Impress your gathering with amazing & affordable gourmet condiments from French Lunch. All of these products are easy to pack away for picnics, get-togethers and big trips across Ontario. No refrigeration necessary!
If you have a portable freezer, then grab some of our freshly-made Mediterranean meals to complement these condiments. Everything under $20! We recommend savoury pies like Tartiflette or breaded foods like Cordon Bleu. Salmon works well too! Let’s begin.
White Truffle Oil. This $10 bottle of truffle oil makes for a flavourful and versatile seasoning for all types of foods — French fries, pizza, pasta, grilled veggies & meats, fillet, poutine, burgers, and more. When in doubt, bring out the truffle oil! Impress your friends with your gourmet knowledge. One part white truffles, one part extra virgin olive oil. Product of Italy.
White Truffle Mustard. This Canadian mustard will make you drool in hunger! Combining truffles with white vinegar, wine, brown sugar, sea salt, spice and of course, mustard, your Canada Day hot dogs won’t be complete without it. But it’s not just for hot dogs. Add a dollop of the stuff to finger foods, burgers and even marinade your meats in it for that premium truffle and wine taste!
Quebec Maple Mustard. Another Canadian product (duh!), this simple maple syrup-infused mustard tastes best with meats, of course. Specifically beef, pork, and fish (like Canadian salmon). Spread it on sandwiches for that unique & natural Canadian maple sugar taste!
Maple Balsamic Vinegar. Following our maple train of thought with another Canadian product, this vinegar is balsamic, meaning that it’s a dark-coloured and sweet Italian vinegar that gets its taste from being kept in wooden containers. How’s that for authenticity? Balsamic vinegar is a great BBQ sauce you can add to grilled foods. A very gourmet technique is balsamic reduction, which involves boiling the vinegar and reducing it until it turns into a syrup. This syrup can be used as a tasty dressing for virtually any food! Put this vinegar maple syrup on your pancakes for Canada Day!
Provençal Green Olive Tapenade. This is a French sauce that brings capers, green French olives, anchovies, spices, and olive oil into an aromatic & tasteful blend to act as a spread for finger foods and snacks like sweet potato chips, plain crackers, Mediterranean breads & others. What can you come up with?
Fig, Brandy and Vanilla Compote. Make your guests exclaim in amazement with this sweet Canadian compote. Compote is a dessert similar to jam. To make compote, fruits are cooked in sugars, spices and water and seasoned with herbs. So you get a bunch of different flavours with each bite! Compote tastes great cold or hot, so preparation isn’t an issue. Serve on crackers with a slice of brie cheese and a bit of whipped cream to end your feast. You’ll be remembered fondly!
We’ve chosen six condiments that we sincerely hope you’ll enjoy this Canada Day. If you’re unsure about any of these products, feel free to give us a call or drop by French Lunch to chat with us. We’re open Monday to Thursday from 10 AM to 8 PM, and until 5 PM on Friday. We’re closed for Canada Day this Saturday, as we’ll be in Bronte for Oakville’s Canada Day 150 Celebration.
We look forward to helping you craft a wonderful culinary experience for yourself and loved ones this Canada Day,
Planning an Excellent BBQ: Dips & Spreads
BBQ season is here and in full swing! Love and respect your grill. Treat yourself to the gourmet experience. Allow French Lunch to turn your next barbecue party into a hit. The following list is filled with products that we know you’ll enjoy and won’t be able to get enough of. This is the first article in a four-part series on BBQ condiments.
Not a fan of BBQ? No worries. The products we mention here and throughout our BBQ articles work with many cooked meats and savoury dishes. Pizza, hot dogs, shepherd’s pie, kebabs, wings, burgers, and more!
Bread Dipper. French Lunch has 3 different types of bread dippers for you to choose from: herbed balsamic, roasted garlic and parmesan, and sundried tomato and basil. The name bread dipper is a generic term given to any condiment you can dip grain-based foods into… like bread! Think of it as gourmet pizza dip. All 3 bread dippers contain extra virgin olive oil and sunflower oils. Dip your freshly-prepared grilled burger buns into them and take a bite! We recommend the sundried tomato and basil one. 150 ml each. Products of Canada.
Salsa. We carry 4 types of salsa: natural, corn, fire-roasted poblano peppers & lime, and tequila blanco & chipotle. We all know what good old salsa is. It’s not just a dance, it’s a thick sauce made with tomatoes, chili peppers, spices, vegetables like onions, and herbs. Salsas go great with Mexican foods: tortillas, nachos, burritos, tacos, and so on. You can even eat them with fruits, like mangoes! 410 ml or 500 ml. Products of Canada.
Oven-Roasted Tomato & Basil Bruschetta. The condiment bruschetta is an absolutely delicious tomato sauce adapted from the classic Italian starter bruschetta, a grilled garlic bread often topped with tomatoes, onions, basil, beans, meats, and cheese. The oven-roasted tomatoes in this bruschetta make plain bread pop with flavour. Give your BBQ gourmet flair by serving your guests grilled bruschetta bread with bruschetta sauce as an appetizer. They’re sure to be impressed. 240 g. Product of Canada.
French Onion & Goat Cheese Dip. So good you can eat it plain. Most of the sauce’s flavour comes from the French onion base, but the goat cheese adds a creamy touch to temper the whole deal. Dip breads, pizza, and chips into it. Add it to burgers and sandwiches. Use it in the place of mustard on hot dogs. Eat it with salad. Heck, dip grilled meats into it! This dip works with virtually every food. 230 g. Product of Canada.
Artichoke & Parmesan Dip. The bitter flavour of artichokes disappears with a blend of parmesan in this dip. This unique dip is ideal for grilled breads, vegetables (cooked or uncooked) like broccoli, chips, quiche, and even certain meat dishes like buffalo wings. The artichoke is a very Mediterranean gourmet vegetable! 230 g. Product of Canada.
Whipped Dips. All three of our whipped dips go perfectly with finger foods. Add a dollop of each to pieces of bread, roasted vegetables, mini pizzas, mini sausage rolls and more. Goat Cheese and Red Peppers with Whipped Cream Cheese dip gives grilled foods gourmet pizzaz. Goat cheese is a staple of Mediterranean gourmet after all.
Sundried Tomato & Bacon with Whipped Cream Cheese pairs well with grilled vegetables like zucchini, alongside sliders, prosciutto breads, and bagels… in fact, all three of these dips go great with toasted bagels!
Finally, we have Maple Bacon Whipped Mustard. Sandwiches and hotdogs are among many of the best foods to pair this dip with! Don’t be afraid to try non-Western foods with these dips either. You might discover an amazing new taste!
Thanks for reading! Come back next Wednesday for our next BBQ condiments article on classic sauces like tapenade, as well as BBQ marinades, creams & more.
We look forward to feeding you!