Kitchen Talk - The French Lunch Blog
Gift Ideas for Dad, French Lunch Style!
Father’s Day is June 18 in Canada and the U.S.
On June 17, French Lunch is having a special discount day for Father’s Day shoppers — 10% off all packaged items in store!
What types of products populate our pantry? Let’s have a look at some of our top Father’s Day picks that won’t just impress Dad, but will also impress future BBQ party guests.
Caramelized Onion Confit. Confit is a French culinary term that refers to any preserved food. A confit is cooked in a liquid, like a gravy, to ensure that bacteria doesn’t grow in it when it is preserved. Confit has a long shelf-life, so you can leave it in a cool place or fridge for weeks upon weeks before it goes bad. This delicious onion confit goes great with pretty much any meat- or cheese-laden dish. Eat it as pizza dip or drizzle it on steak. Or eat it by itself!
Tequila Blanco & Chipotle Salsa. This salsa is flavoured with white tequila and chipotle pepper sauce. It’s rather spicy, so watch out! It’ll burn your tongue with flavour, that’s for sure. Dads who live and breathe spice will adore this.
French Onion & Goat Cheese Dip. As the product name implies, this dip is simple and straightforward: French onions and goat cheese are turned into a fine dip for you and Dad to enjoy with pretty much anything savoury. Pair these with our Torres Truffle Chips for the perfect, flavourful snack during long trips.
Maple Bacon and Whipped Mustard Dip. Behold, the most North American blend of them all: maple and bacon! Maple syrup and bacon glaze join forces to create an amazing new taste in a portable container. This dip is perfect for camping trips, cottage trips, hikes & more. If Dad is active and loves the idea of the two twinning, you know he’ll love this. Here’s an idea: add it to steak for even more bacon-y goodness! You can never have too much bacon.
Onion and Red Wine Confit. For Dads who love wine. Before you gift him this, ask him to taste a bit and see if he can detect the subtle red wine undertones. If he can, you know this gift is appropriate! But even Dads without the power of Wine Detection™ will enjoy this confit. It’s a rather traditional French dip that pairs well with steaks, roasts, and any other meat-based dish. And red wine, of course.
White Truffle Oil. A gourmet selection, this made-in-Italy white truffle oil is a finishing oil for savoury foods — everything from pasta and pizza to French fries. “Truffle” refers to the edible fungus known as truffle. White truffle oil is high quality extra virgin oil infused with Italian white truffles, which are the most expensive and most sought-after due to their delicate flavouring. Love mashed potatoes? Drizzle some truffle oil on the dish! Put it on pizza, eggs, beef, mushrooms, fish… even popcorn! It’s an extremely versatile oil and tastes earthy and unique to anyone who’s never had it before.
Thank you for reading, and we hope you have an amazing Father’s Day with the Dads in your life. We hope you come to French Lunch on June 17 to take advantage of our 10% off promo. Buy your dad an exotic, but affordable gourmet treat this year!
We look forward to feeding you,
Condiments for the Cottage
If you take a look at French Lunch's pantry drop-down menu, you'll discover a number of European snacks and condiments — everything from ketchup to black truffle oil and Béarnaise.
Many of these condiments are perfect for a trip to the cottage. They pair excellently with European foods like crêpes julienne and quiche. Or try them with any appetizer available at our store. But you can eat them with other types of foods too, whether as pizza dip or burger sauce. Here are our favourites!
Aïoli. A Mediterranean garlic, salt and olive oil sauce beloved by many Catalans and Provençals, it tastes great with raw veggies. We include a helping of aioli with all of our lunch starters, and suggest you do the same for your cottage trip! Instead of dipping spoonfuls of salad into a calorie-laden ranch dressing filled with preservatives, grab a bottle of aioli sauce to go! Made with whole ingredients. Product of France.
Béarnaise. Béarnaise is a French sauce of clarified butter, egg yolks, and white wine vinegar. European herbs like tarragon, shallots, and chervil are added to increase the sauce’s flavor. When the French buy béarnaise, they buy it for steaks most of the time. So if you’re planning on BBQing at the cottage, you absolutely need to try béarnaise sauce on your next steak! Made with whole ingredients. Product of France.
Bourguignonne. Don’t let the long name scare you away! Bourguignonne is a perfectly affordable gourmet sauce made with red wine, meat stock, onions, herbs, a sprinkling of pepper, and a hint of butter. Bourguignonne goes well with many dishes. Steaks, escargot, tartiflette, hachis Parmentier… we recommend buying some of our Belgian Nut potatoes together with Bourguignonne sauce to pair with any steak. You’ll love it! Made with whole ingredients. Product of France.
Tapenade. Tapenade is an extremely popular Provençal spread of puréed ingredients: black olives, Kalamata olives, lemons, capers, or other savoury fruits and vegetables soaked in olive oil. It’s traditionally ground into a paste with a mortar and pestle, and dates back to Roman times. We have five types of tapenade for you to try: green olive, black olive, Kalamata and fig, Kalamata, olives & lemon, and green olive & almond. Tapenade works for… basically anything you can dip into a sauce! Use it as sandwich spread together with roti de porc. Dip crêpes into it. Use it as a steak sauce. Use it as salad dressing. Serve it on crackers. Eat it with cod and other fish. The possibilities are endless!
Whichever sauce you choose, know that every sauce listed here is versatile! They add that extra dimension of flavor to any plain dish. They work for you, rather than you having to shape the dish to fit them. And that’s the beauty of Mediterranean, especially French, cuisine — sauces go well with nearly any meal!
Drop by 187 Cross Avenue for amazing French condiments and more. We have an entire pantry section dedicated to European condiments. Show us your Presto card and get 5% off.
We look forward to feeding you,
French Gourmet at the Cottage
Coq au vin in your cottage with a glass of red wine for you and your SO... sounds rather romantic, doesn't it? Your elegant getaway won't be the same without classic French meals to make the entire experience unforgettable.
Food can make or break a vacation. Instead of stockpiling junk food for your trip, here are the French Lunch dishes we recommend for maximum affordability and health, the haute cuisine way.
Pilaf may be a simple dish that takes very little time to prepare, but it can be difficult to master. Our pilaf is fragrant, fluffy and firm, thanks to basmati rice. We use French herbs and spices for seasoning, blending rich Mediterranean flavours together. When you're at your cottage, you'll want something easy to prepare — surely, you've got many activities planned. Some nights may lead you back to the cottage at midnight. And what better way to quell your rumbling stomach than with a healthy dish ready in less than 10 minutes? Don't let cooking anxieties eat up your vacation time!
These crêpes are stuffed with julienne. If you want to enjoy them the authentic French way, dip them into a tapenade or other French sauce. Savoury crêpes taste great with sauces! Another easily-microwaveable dish, you'll spend next to no time preparing it. Crêpes are a go-to classic for most, and make for a healthy breakfast. They'll give you a lot of energy for those long road trips to national parks, houses of family members and friends, and so on.
Cordon bleu is a French croquette-come-schnitzel with a fried meat (chicken) exterior and a cheesy interior. A heavenly dish fit to challenge the beloved crêpe, cordon bleu is a great all-season breakfast food. If your cottage is somewhere up north, piping hot cordon bleu will remind you of warmer times. On a sunny, hot morning, cordon bleu and a side of grape tomatoes with aioli dip present a refreshing contrast — a mouthful of hot cordon bleu offset by the cool taste of a tomato dipped into an olive sauce.
Our signature dish, coq au vin is a chicken stew simmered in red wine and vegetables, along with French herbs and spices. It tastes great with wines. You’d think a wine-based dish would be fine by itself (and you’d be right if you’re not wine fan), but we assure you that coq au vin tastes better when paired with wine than without. Pop it into your cottage’s oven and it’ll be ready within half an hour, giving you enough time to prepare for dinner. A hearty and romantic classic dish, your cottage escapades won’t be the same without it!
Like coq au vin, beef provençale is a stew cooked in red wine. Provençale generally refers to any stew containing tomatoes, garlic and olive oil — the rest of the ingredients are up to you. Provençale is similar to ratatouille in its vegetable ingredients, but it’s arguably much heartier due to its thick and tasty gravy. Provençale is perfect for a cold, rainy day’s dinner at the cottage, or a romantic evening with your S.O. The kids will appreciate this stew too. After a long and exhausting trip to the cottage, an oven-ready beef provençale will fill your stomach and help you sleep better, so you can start your vacation stress-free and nutritiously!
This Canadian steelhead salmon is marinated in maple syrup for a delightfully sweet and savoury taste. Dip it into golden beurre blanc (white butter, onion, white wine) sauce and prepare to be blown away! A light and well-balanced meal of lean white meat, carbs, and a green vegetable that will energize you for yachting, hikes, and tours to come
These are our top six meal choices for vacations to the cottage. Of course, we have plenty more to show at https://frenchlunch.ca.
Your vacation should be fun, simple, and easy. And most importantly, stress-free (as in, no cooking worries!). That’s why we’re here to provide you with stress-free, affordable, healthy and gourmet meals. Trade the junk food for whole foods. Cooked and packaged by us. Preservative- and sodium-free. Visit 187 Cross Avenue today!
We look forward to feeding you,
Crêpe Fillings: What We Choose and Why
Sweet and savoury, crêpes are beloved by nearly everyone. But here's something to think about: what should you put in a crêpe, and which fillings produce the most flavourful crêpe?
French Lunch's crêpe buffet offers the following sweet ingredients: honey, nutella, jam, chocolate chips, maple syrup, marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, almonds, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.
For savory ingredients, we stock cold meats, grated parmesan, dry parsley, spinach, mushrooms, and French sauces like tapenade and béarnaise. Additionally, we offer premade hot crêpes before 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday: mushroom and brie cheese, mushroom and egg, egg and ham, and salmon and cream cheese.
So, why these ingredients in particular?
Well, all of our fillings are immediately available to customers, so we had to choose some of the most popular fillings that don't spoil at room temperature. The meats are kept in the cold, of course, but every other ingredient keeps well on a buffet table. Which means that customers don't have to order them and wait — they can build a crêpe right away and enjoy it then and there. We're a meal shop focused on convenience, affordability and health, and our crêpe fillings reflect this.
Why three types of fruits? Because crêpes with fruits taste better than crêpes with just chocolate in them. That's why we dice up fresh fruits for the buffet table every day!
If you go through any article on popular crêpe fillings, you're bound to see spinach, herbs, chicken, cream cheese, mushrooms, cinnamon, cheeses, berries, peanut butter... the list goes on. Fruits are also present, of course, but they're often paired with creams. This can be problematic. In fact, you'll often see various creams, including ice cream, listed. Whipped cream and ice cream make everything taste better... but at what cost? One serving, or one dollop of whipped cream nets you up to 5 grams of sugar or more, and around 100 calories.
The average North American consumes around 100 grams of added, non-natural sugars per day, well above the 25 to 37 gram limit recommended by governments. No wonder obesity rates are skyrocketing here! And then there's ice cream. Whether cheap or premium, many ice creams contain a number of preservatives and not enough real ingredients. Some brands have even reclassified themselves as "frozen desserts" because they don't meet federal standards... why? They don't contain enough milk! Instead of milk, a bunch of preservatives are added: notably, carrageenan, palm oil and gums.
Although we recommend whole ingredients above all else, we do provide Nutella, chocolate, and marshmallows to customers who want them. We've modified portions to be small, though — small cups of Nutella, miniature marshmallows (under 4 grams of sugar), and teaspoons of chocolate chips, to help guide crêpe lovers towards healthy choices. Moderation is key. Our crêpes are smaller too, and cheaper than most. $4.99 for a cold crêpe, and $5.99 for a hot crêpe. You won't worry about not finishing one, or getting bloated from one.
Finally, we offer a unique savory crêpe experience through our selection of sauces. In Provence, France, savory crêpes come with tapenade and other spreads in gourmet restaurants. Here's an idea: stuff a crêpe with mushrooms, parmesan, parsley, and cold meat, and coat it with a bit of tapenade. The crêpe won't just be savory, it'll be packed with flavor — olives, capers, lemons, and olive oil, among others. A zesty Mediterranean taste for sure!
Here's to crêpes packed with not just the tasty stuff, but the healthy stuff too.
We look forward to feeding you,
Let's Learn about Crêpes!
What could make for a tastier brunch, lunch, or dinner than a crêpe? Chances are, even if you've never eaten a French-style crêpe before, you've probably eaten it in another form — as a pancake, a crumpet, a dosa, a blini, a hotteok, a farinata, or as some other flat, wheat-based roll — all of these foods, including crêpes, are pancakes. Each type of pancake is either meant to hold fillings, or can be enjoyed alone with or without condiments.
The French crêpe is a thin shell of fried pastry batter, often containing containing eggs, milk, and butter, and is offered with savoury or sweet ingredients: meats, cheeses, veggies, and herbs for savoury crêpes, and chocolate, fruits, jams, creams, syrups, marshmallows, and other sugary ingredients if sweet. Vended on Parisian streets and streets around the world, crêpes are extremely popular today. But how did the humble crêpe come to be?
The origins of the crêpe can be traced back to ancient Greece, where they took the form of breakfast pancakes, which were made with only flour and water, sometimes honey. But the actual crêpe we know today was created accidentally by a teenaged Henri Charpentier in 1896. He had been given the task of preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, King Edward VII, and other nobles.
But an accident happened: the dessert Henri was preparing was "ruined" by a drop of wine sauce, causing the fire underneath the dish to flambé, thus transforming it into the crêpe Suzette, the predecessor of what is now known as the French crêpe. Henri, in a fit of genius, introduced the dish as his brand new creation to the royals, and they happily accepted it. Just imagine trying to pass off a mistake as an invention! Chef's hats off to the courageous Henri! The dish was named "crêpes Suzette" in honour of a young girl who attended the banquet.
Because the Prince of Wales loved it so much, the crêpe spread like wildfire across France and Europe, eventually entering North America and other countries in later years. Today, France celebrates Crêpe Day (Candlemas) on February 2. On that day, everyone eats crêpes all day long. According to French Catholics, cooking a crêpe while holding a coin brings wealth. But happiness doesn't come so easily — in order to obtain it, believers must flip a crêpe in a pan by flicking their right wrist, all while holding a coin in their left hand. If the crêpe lands in the pan face down, your happiness is assured!
Who knew the French crêpe had such an interesting history or traditions associated with it? We hope you'll come out and try our crêpes soon. We'll be serving the sweet and savoury types that you can build yourself for $4.99, as well as pre-made crêpes for $1 more ($5.99). Our premade crêpes are savoury: ham and egg, mushroom and brie, egg and mushroom.
We look forward to feeding you some steaming hot, delicious crêpes on May 16,
A Brand New and Affordable Crêpe Buffet!
Guess what? Starting Tuesday, May 16, French Lunch’s amazing crêpe buffet will begin! At just $4.99 to $5.99 per crêpe with no additional cost for fillings, we offer a lot of value for less than $10. At restaurants, you’re usually charged for each additional topping you add to your crêpe, in addition to a base price for the crêpe itself. But here at French Lunch, we’re only charging you for the crêpe.
We’ll be offering the following hot savoury crêpe at a fixed price of $5.99:
- Egg and ham
- Egg and mushroom
- Mushroom and brie
- Salmon and cream cheese
All savoury crêpes will come with a free helping of tapenade, aioli, béarnaise, mayonnaise, or other sauces, as well as herbs and vegetables like spinach. We recommend tapenade, a sauce not commonly found outside haute cuisine. Best of all, you don’t have to pay to try it!
Our sweet crêpes are completely DIY. Fillings include:
- Maple Syrup
Make it a crêpe day brunch date at French Lunch, the only meal shop in Oakville that does gourmet crêpes starting at just $4.99. Have your crêpe to go, or sit down and enjoy it in-store. We’ll have a couple of tables set up for customers who want to eat their crêpe(s) straight away.
Speaking of crêpes, what are they anyway? For anyone not in the know, crêpes are… pancakes. Yup, crêpes are French pancakes that are rolled up and stuffed with sweet and savoury ingredients. These days, you can put practically anything in a crêpe — from candy to coconuts. Crêpes are incredibly versatile. They’re thinner than pancakes, and are basically hollow, thin shells meant to emphasize stuffing. A crêpe isn’t supposed to be enjoyed by itself like pancakes are, but surely, there exist people out there who dig crêpes without fillings with, say, café au lait (hey, that’s cool too!).
Although popular, crêpes can be quite expensive. Crêperies often charge $10 to $20 or more per crêpe, and the total cost only increases when you add in extra fillings. French Lunch guarantees that there are no additional costs involved when you choose our crêpes — again, we set a fixed price per crêpe, and everything else is included.
Enjoy a gourmet French lunch and brunch for under $10. The most affordable price for a freshly made crêpe in Oakville and the GTA.
French Lunch is right opposite Oakville GO, at 187 Cross Avenue. Feel free to drop in and browse. We’re open until 8 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and until 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
We look forward to feeding you,