SUPPER CLUB: Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis by Chantal Véchembre
May 13 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
France is home to the concept of terroir – the taste of a specific place – the combination of geography and season, history and culture, tradition and food that give the history of French cuisine with decades of experience in the kitchen to offer us a glimpse into the diverse flavours of France.
This April marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge — immortalized in the memorial poem “In Flanders Fields” — a key moment in WWI that cemented the deep connections in French and Canadian history. It took place in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, the northernmost department in France, in between Belgium and the Pas-de-Calais (Straights of Dover), so it would not be any surprise to find English and Flemish influences in the local food.
The character and dialect of North got a boost from the popularity of a 2008 comedy“Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis” (Welcome to the Sticks), which went on to become one of France’s most successful films, adding to the legacy of this part of France known for its coal mines, majestic buildings, grim weather and friendly people — a famous song says that the people here “have in their heart the sun they don’t have in the sky”. Beef, cheeses and beers feature prominently alongside fish from the La Manche (English Channel). Tonight Chantal shares a selection of the hearty dishes and specialties of this region.
Welsh rarebit, as one might guess, originated in Wales, but has become something of a signature dish in the North of France, taking advantage of the excellent beers, bread and cheeses of the region… Strong cheese, mustard and beer are combined into a hearty sauce that is poured over bread and broiled until bubbling and golden.
Endives and Mimolette Velouté
Belgian farmers originally introduced endives (leaf chicory) to this region; the area is now the number one producer in the world. It is widely used: raw, boiled or grilled to enhance its slightly bitter but delicate taste. Here it is topped with a creamy velouté and Mimolette (literally ’half-soft’, mi-mou), one of the star local cow cheeses. Round and orange, this cheese shows its Dutch influences.
Herring Tartar and Beet Salad
Smoked or marinated, herring has long played an important role in the cuisine of the North of France, being nourishing and easy to preserve. This salad of herring tartar is served with sweet red beets, another famous local product.
Much like the classic boeuf bourguignon of the South, but made with the excellent beers of the area instead of wine, is it popular throughout Belgium and Holland. The Dutch played an important role in the European spice trade, so spices like cloves, nutmeg and anise appear in many cakes and cookies. Some traditional flamande recipes incorporate pieces of spiced gingerbread to add complexity and sweetness.
Chou Rouge à la Flamande
Red cabbage is slowly braised until meltingly tender, sometimes with a bit of apple and vinegar to enhance the sweet and sour flavour profile
Sorbet Café Chicory and Speculoos
It is said that “In the North there’s always a percolator on the fire” — « Dins ch’nord, y’a toudis eun’alambic sus ch’fû » in the local dialect — which speaks to both the ubiquity of the beverage and the culture of sharing a cup at any social opportunity (much like tea in England). When Napoleonic France could not receive coffee from its colonies due to the British blockade, roasted chicory root was a common substitute. It is still widely consumed, blended with or instead of coffee, for a lighter beverage that helps with digestion. This coffee & chicory sorbet is a delightful palate cleanser, served with Speculoos, a crunchy little spice cookie popular throughout Flanders, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Tarte au Sucre
An iconic dessert from the area is sugar pie — much like what we in Ontario know as a butter tart, and a treat that is still popular throughout Quebec — but traditionally made with vergeoise (or cassonade), a special brown sugar made from beets; another Napoleonic innovation
Chantal Véchambre, originally from Paris, is a chef certified in both French cuisine and pastry-chocolate. In 2005 she moved to New Brunswick where she began her own business as caterer. Her independent research in culinary history led her to the Fortress of Louisbourg (Nova Scotia), a National Historic Site of Canada, where she developed new recipes for the site’s restaurant, and culinary workshops to the public, inspired by the 18th century recipes. She wrote the award-winning book French Taste in Atlantic Canada, 1604-1758, A gastronomic history (CBU Press), featuring ingredients and recipes of the colonial period. Now established in Toronto, she pursues food writing and cooking ventures about French cuisine: supper clubs, events, private and corporate catering, as well as ongoing research into Canadian and French culinary history.
Every weekend The Depanneur invites an amateur or professional guest chef to host a fun, informal dinner party.
WORKSHOP: Intro to French Mother Sauces by Chantal Vechambre
April 3 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
- $50 (SOLD OUT)
This class is SOLD OUT, but a 2nd night has been added on Wed, April. 5
At the heart of French cooking are the “Mother Sauces”; a series of fundamental culinary building blocks upon which countless variations and dishes are based. In this fun, hands-on workshop, French Chef Chantal Vechambre will introduce the key techniques behind several of these versatile sauces, an invaluable foundation for anyone interested in exploring true French cuisine.
Starting by learning how to make roux, the essential base of the white Mother Sauces, she will cover dairy-based sauces like Béchamel and Mornay, as well as the stock-based Velouté and variants such as Soubise, Bercy & Poulette. They will be used to accompany some simply cooked local vegetables and to make simple, classic dishes likeTalmouse en Tricorne, small puff pastry tartlettes with a creamy Mornay filling, for snacking on in class. There will be plenty of discussion of how these versatile sauces can be used and modified in scores of different ways from lasagna to croque monsieur.
The class will also cover how to make quick and easy cold sauces, such as mayonnaise,ailoli and tartare, which will be served with some fresh fish and crudités. As a bonus, you will learn how to make a quick Court Bouillon, the classic stock for poaching fish.
Chantal Vechambre, a French national and trained chef, spent 6 years in Atlantic Canada, in part researching her award-winning book French Taste in Atlantic Canada, A gastronomic history 1604-1758, about the ingredients, adventures and history of the Acadian people who lived at the Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia.
Every Monday, The Depanneur invites TO’s best culinary talents to lead fun, hands-on workshops.
At the Depanneur last Saturday, we were in the food Alps perks...
To see other events at The Depanneur it’s here
At the Lambton House this last Sunday, lecture and tasting about this very French tradition : the crepes !
SUPPER CLUB: Haute Montagne, Haute Cuisine by Chantal Véchembre
February 11 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
France is home to the concept of terroir – the taste of a specific place – the combination of geography and season, history and culture, tradition and food that give each region it’s unique specialities. Chef Chantal Véchambre combines her study of the history of French cuisine with decades of experience in the kitchen to offer us a glimpse into the rich tastes of the mountains of the French Alps.
When we conjure up images of the Alps, we tend to think of majestic landscapes that extend through Italy, France, Switzerland, and Austria, or perhaps of the stories of famous exploits at Mont Blanc, the highest Alps’ peak. But this striking geography has also produce a unique cuisine worth noting (and salivating over!). It features unique products like dried salted beef (Viande des Grisons, also known as Bündnerfleisch), tasty cheeses from the high pastures such as Reblochon and Fontina, and delectable pastas. Tonight’s dinner showcases a range of these regional specialties.
Imagine the taste of a cheese made with the milk of cows grazing in pastures over 2000 m high, at the Val d’Aoste, between France and Italy. This appetizer features this unique Fontina cheese, baked with white wine and poured in little crusts
Crozets are a unique pasta found in Savoie: little squares of whole wheat (or sometimes mixed with buckwheat), cooked in a light broth and topped with grilled speck, the smoky bacon of the German Alps.
This iconic dish of the Savoie country is made with Reblochon cheese. This traditional tartiflettefeatures a bed of potatoes, onions and lardons topped with Reblochon cheese, melted and grilled in the oven. Not a light dish but the harsh Alpine winter calls for something to warm your bones!
Reblochon derives from the word “reblocher” which when literally translated means “to pinch a cow’s udder again”. This refers to the practice of holding back some of the milk from the first milking. During the 14th century, the landowners would tax the mountain farmers according to the amount of milk their herds produced. The farmers would therefore not fully milk the cows until after the landowner had measured the yield. The milk that remains is much richer, and was traditionally used by the dairymaids to make their own cheese.
Grisons Meat Salad
Arugula, apple and delicately shaved Viande des Grisons, a Swiss air-dried cured beef similar to Italian bresaola.
Austrian Glühwein Sorbet
In France, ‘le trou Normand‘ refers to a strong alcohol (often Calvados apple brandy), sometime served with a sorbet, used to clear the palate and prepare the stomach towards the end of a rich meal. This one is inspired by a traditional Austrian winter beverage often enjoyed at their outdoor Christmas markets, features mulled red wine with honey, star anise and cloves.
Mont Blanc Dessert
A classic Alpine dessert featuring a ‘snow-capped mountain’ of sweetened chestnut pureé, topped with light cream and meringue, with pieces of candied chestnuts.
Chantal Véchambre, originally from Paris, is a chef certified in both French cuisine and pastry-chocolate. In 2005, she moved to New Brunswick where she began her own business as caterer. Her independent research in culinary history led her to the Fortress of Louisbourg (Nova Scotia), a National Historic Site of Canada, where she developed new recipes for the site’s restaurant, and culinary workshops to the public, inspired by the 18th century recipes. She wrote the award-winning book French Taste in Atlantic Canada, 1604-1758, A gastronomic history (CBU Press), featuring ingredients and recipes of the colonial period. Now established in Toronto, she pursues food writing and cooking ventures about French cuisine: supper clubs, events, private and corporate catering, as well as ongoing research into Canadian and French culinary history.
Every weekend The Depanneur invites an amateur or professional guest chef to host a fun, informal dinner party.
Lecture - tasting with the SHT, Société d’histoire de Toronto, at the Lambton House, the Feb 5th.
Lecture in French, tasting in universal language :)
With the organizer Pop Up A la Carte, we propose a unique event at the Restaurant Blowfish inToronto...
The province of Ontario celebrates this year the 400e French Ontario... 1615 : Samuel de Champlain, after Acadia and Quebec, went through Ontario, and explored with the French coureur des bois Etienne Brulé, the path to go West... The food at this period was all about what First nations ate... Hurons Wendate, Iroquois, Ojibwés were on site and offered their culinary traditions to Europeans.... I created a menu based on all ingredients of this era... Come and enjoy :)