Monday, February 22, 2010

Closer than Paris

I feel lucky to have found this gem of a place. I have no idea why the only authentic artisan European baker in the country landed in Cary, NC, but I am certainly glad. Sure, it's a forty minute drive from my house, but I always say "it's much closer than Paris". I found out about Lionel, the baker, by taking a bread class at Southern Season in Chapel Hill. What a find. Check out LaFarm Bakery's website:

Many others have found it as well. What started out as just a small bread shop expanded into a full bakery with a cafe with awesome breakfast and lunch offerings. It's now packed on the weekends. I highly recommend the french toast. It's the closest thing I've found to the best I ever had (Petunia's in New Orleans). At lunch, you can't go wrong with any of the sandwiches made on the wonderful breads. And there are plenty of sweets to chose from to finish off a savory lunch.

            Asparagus & Proscuitto Tartine
Quiche Lorraine with side salad

Croque Monsieur with side salad

If you're feeling adventurous, you can take bread making classes from Lionel at the bakery (LaFarm Bread Classes). You can even find some recipes on his website and blog. But if you're like me, you can use the hands on instruction. It is definitely an art and a skill to be respected. Also, you can buy the natural flour and yeast in bulk for your home baking needs.
I am happy to report that I successfully made a loaf of country French bread at home (from the recipe I received in class). It was a little tricky, didn't result in the most beautiful loaf and my technique needs practice. However, it tasted wonderful. And that's what really counts with home baking anyway.

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