Thursday, February 07, 2008

A spoonful of crème fraîche

I am a French restaurateur's worst nightmare. A vegetarian, I don't like French cheese (too pungent for me, thank yo very much), can't bear the mere smell of butter, strongly dislike sauces; garlic and onions genuinely upset my stomach, while fries make me nauseous. And did I mention I don't drink wine?
Just when any Gallic chef is about to sigh, "Ah, zose Americanz, zey do not know what iz really good!", comes the redeeming 'crème fraîche'. 40% fat, unpasteurized dairy, good enough to be eaten by the spoonful with fresh berries. Like fine yogurt, it has a slightly sour taste that I find irresistible. As of late, I can't go a day without my crème fraîche fix.

To learn more about crème fraîche and for a list of the very few American brands that make this treat, go to Laura's post about crème fraîche. In France, make sure to get the Isigny crème fraîche from Normandy (pictured), available in supermarkets.

What's your latest food obsession?


marie said...

i love yogurt (thick organic!)
similar to creme fraiche no?
i have it with rice and quinoa, salad, apricots and strawberries, also very good with crumble and other cake!
oh and i can't go a day without some super dark chocolate!
(i'm hungry now!)

A World in a PAN said...

THank you for mentioning my blog. For a full account on Creme Fraiche, you can also visit

I love it too, it makes marvels with a simple sauce or veloute, and it's perfect with red berries or a warm Tarte Tatin.

Joanna Goddard said...

i like it, too. my mom's friend used to eat a little bowl of it alone every day.

Taocito said...

My latest food obsession (though I usually stick to my usual croquettes with chicken) is a craving for the "bouillon" aka chicken broth. A little bowl every night is a healthy alternative to frozen ready meals!
My mistresses mom, the owner and founder of a world in a pan, has left some delicious home made bouillon for me to indulge in every night while she is gone teaching classes on the west coast.
I had a huge bowl last night, seasoned with some small pasta, black pepper and sea salt and it was simply delish!!!

Mary-Laure said...

Dear Taocito, what a gourmet you are! I know you also like Toblerone...

Dear Marie, creme fraiche is much more luscious than yogurt; we'll have some together when you finally come to Paris.

mansuetude said...

sounds delicious... i want to eat all the things you mention you don't like! :)

You will live longer. :)

Snobber said...

are you sure you're really french?


Ekub said...

I've lately been eating a lot of yogurt, plain yogurt with a bit of rasberry jam and sometimes also almonds. I guess it's quite similar to your creme fraiche-treat! In Finland we have this sour cream type of dairy product which is a bit like creme fraiche but with less fat and a bit like yogurt. It makes nice dips and I think that I will soon pop into the shops to get some and dip away with carrots and cucumber slices tonight!

Mary-Laure said...

Snobber - no, I'm not really French, only 1/2 French and I've never really felt French. I'm a lot more comfortable in the US.

Ekub - your treat sounds wonderful! I love almonds, especially after I've roasted them in the oven, and as for raspberry jam... YUM!
I love making jam! (I never ever buy jam because I so enjoy making my own.)

pia said...

LOVE creme fraiche, we always have it in the fridge. I have always wondered how vegetarians survive in France, and you don't eat cheese or wine, mon dieu!! Have you been to that Tibetan restaurant in Montmatre, next to the Zebre on Rue Lepic? They have fab vegetarian food, and delicious momos (my fave)

eclecticentertaining said...

I'm actually enjoying the virtues of pork fat... yes, lard. Buy the good stuff from a local hog farm if possible. I know lard bring up bad connotations, but it's actually no worse than butter (the French chef's love!). And boy does it give great flavor. I've started making what I call a "New South BLT":
fried thick cut bacon (all natural, no MSG)
green tomatoes, dredged in corn meal and fried in lard
whatever salad greens you have on hand
mayo spiked with Tabasco sauce

I could eat a million of them. My husband has me make him two at a time!

Anonymous said...

creme fraiche's a flesh crime!

Snobber said...

well, that explains it! :)

Mary-Laure said...

Pia - naughty girl, aren't you on a deadline and supposed to be slaving away instead of hanging around blogs!?

Eclectic Entertaining - I think you've got it exactly right: the secret of great food is just fresh ingredients.
(Your sandwich is a great way to get your family wolfing down tomatoes and greens!)
I actually knew lard is no worse than butter. It's weird how some foodstuffs get a bad rap, isn't it.

Anonymous - I love your alliteration!