Deliciously Gooey

We discovered that the perfect pairing to that delicious salted duck breast was a Fromage Fondu. In Petra’s words, this is “deliciously gooey” — melting hot camembert, dripping over crusty bread, and so easy to make, but none the less impressive.  Petra recommended La Rustique, the king of camembert, that comes nestling in its own wooden box, something I have yet to find in over Vancouver cheese shops even though it is pasteurized.

Fromage Fondu, La Rustique camembert, hors d'oeuvres

Fromage Fondu, La Rustique camembert

You score the top of the camembert, drizzle with a fine muscat, and sprinkle with fresh time and pink peppercorns. Just pop it in a hot oven for 15 minutes and viola, a delectable hors d’oeuvre. Conveniently, not far from Petra’s, there is a fine winery, called Domain du Sacre Coeur and its was this sweet white wine that Petra poured over the cheese. David and looked at one another and vowed to bring a bottle of this muscat home with us.

Fromage Fondu

Fromage Fondu

Next up, Figues au Chèvre et Jambon. You rarely see fresh figs at the supermarkets here, but in France, every market displayed these rich, purple mounds piled high in peaks. We started by trimming off the stems and cutting them into quarters them by slicing vertically down but not all the way to the end. By squeezing the quarters, the little fig opens up wide allowing just enough room for a generous piece of fresh goat cheese. I have never tasted goat cheese like this in Vancouver, no matter how fresh it claims to be. It was all soft and milky unlike our crumbly logs we have here. I even travelled to the goat cheese farm in Chilliwack in search of the same sweet cheese. It is more than just how it is made in France. I believe it is the kind of goat and what it eats that contributes to its luscious taste.

Figues au Chevre et Jambon,ham, figs, goat cheese

Preparing Figues au Chevre et Jambon

Now, wrap a piece of Serrano, Bayonne, or prosciutto ham and place it on a baking sheet coated on olive oil.  Drizzle with honey and balsamic vinegar, then it goes into a hot oven for about 10 minutes, just long for the ham to be crisp and the cheese to start oozing down the sides.

Figues au Chevre et Jambon, salad, figs, ham, goat cheese

Salade de Figues au Chevre et Jambon

Meanwhile, Petra made a reduction of her homemade red wine vinegar which she then used to dress the arugula and mint and piled it high on individual plates. Once the figs where ready, they sat upon the mountain of arugula. The first bite was just heavenly. A combination of the salty ham, sweet figs, tangy cheese, and tart vinegar on the mustard greens all rolled in my mouth. I was speechless. Not bad for a first night of cooking.


But we were not yet done. Creme Brûlée. Anyone who knows me well knows that I can’t turn down a creme brûlée or a creme caramel. In fact, my good friends Bruce and Jud gave me a Brûlée torch for Christmas one year. I’ve made it for David a few times but we somehow never got the crispy, crunchy surface quite right. David volunteered to handle the torch, and under the careful guidance of Petra, learned when to tip the torch and pull away. It was perfect and so was this night.

Torching the Creme Brûlée

Torching the Creme Brûlée






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