Patch Picks: Infectious French Confections in Two Local Eateries

Classic French method used by chefs produces a lusciously fine sweet cuisine.

If you’ve never had creme brulee–this is the week to go out and have one! It's National Creme Brulee Week from July 21 to July 27 and we'll take a few moments to savour this and other equally loved French sweet creations.

Typically served in a ramekin, which is a small ceramic serving dish, creme brulee is a rich, vanilla flavored thick custard base that is topped with a thin sheet of sugar that has been torched to create a hard caramel. The basic ingredients include cream, eggs, sugar and flavoring of your choice. The various flavors can be “coffee, vanilla, chocolate, mango, strawberry and even cucumber,” said Leah Jacobs, pastry chef at .

With a spoon, you can, with little effort, crack through the caramelized sugar revealing the thick and silky custard pudding beneath it. Scoop together a dollop of caramel and custard and the taste is heavenly as it slowly melts away.

Making this French dessert is no simple task. Executive Chef Michael R. Sadriani of  said, “our approach to making this is long and intricate.”

The upscale Italian cuisine offered by is from the Northern Italian-Provence (south-east of France) and it made sense to offer a sweet dish and some savory ones from their distinguished culinary neighbor.

“This dessert is one of our best selling items,” said Sadriani of their creme brulee which they've served since they opened in 1999. It is available during lunch and dinner. After dinner, enjoy a little bit of opera while you nurse a creme brulee–performed by the chef himself–yes, the chef cooks and sings.

If you have ever wondered what makes French pastries so flaky and delicate, Jacobs stated that the French method is very time-consuming and “everything must be just right to produce a consistent, perfect product. We also use imported French ingredients.”

Jacobs trained at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Boston, Massachusetts under a master French pastry chef and received a Professional French Pastry Arts degree. Her Puff Pastry Tartlett with tomato jam, goat cheese and prosciutto proved her a winner at the Florida State Tomato Recipe Contest.

Their croissants, brioches and turnovers are classically handcrafted French pastries served at the Bistro-style . Sitting outside of the cafe, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature at Shoreline Park while you relish a fresh-baked pastry with homemade jam, sipping on espresso or their Cacao Berry French Hot Chocolate made to order. Currently, creme brulee can be purchased as a catering item and there are plans to enhance their offerings by its addition to the menu, according to owner, Christina Ferrari.

If you are interested in learning more about French cooking, there is a “Celebrating Julia Child” cooking class in Los Gatos at  on August 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Julia Child is the first to be credited with introducing French cuisine to the United States. She inspired cooks to expand their skills. This class celebrates her life with a simple and elegant French meal that reflects her cooking philosophy: big flavor, small pretense. The chef instructor will share tips, classic French culinary techniques, and traditional recipes.

As you enjoy your creme brulee, croissant, brioche, or turnover, consider the amount of work that produced the delectable dish that it is and thank the French for their distinct culinary style.

Next Up:

Check back with us next week for the next dining establishment with a claim to culinary fame as we continue to celebrate National Culinary Arts month this July. The month's celebration promotes appreciation and awareness of professional chefs and cooks and how they impact the culinary and dining landscape.

sarah July 23, 2011 at 01:43 AM
Ms. Jacobs makes the most wonderful pastries! I'm so glad she is being recognized. SJ
Evelyn Share July 25, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Hi Sarah, Thanks for sharing that!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »