Brunch à la Française | Twinspirational -->

Monday, April 18, 2016

Brunch à la Française

Brunch is a weekend tradition in New York. It is supposed to be EASY, LAZY and INDULGENT! The word brunch is a shortened version of breakfast and lunch yet there is nothing SHORT about the meal itself. How do you make brunch at home even more fun than the typical dining experience at a restaurant- you host a FRENCH brunch and transport all your guests to a quaint bistro in Paris.
We know what you are thinking. FANCY French cuisine is reserved for extravagant anniversaries, expense account dinners or trips to Paris. But it doesn't have to. We hosted casual yet elegant brunch for 25 guests. For any party larger than 6 guests, we suggest potluck style. No one enjoys cooking for hours especially for a weekend brunch. Going potluck also means the food will be more or less proportional to the number of guests attending.
The French flag inspired our red, white and blue color palette. We decorated the buffet table with a single bouquet of red ranunculus and mini white daisies in a beautiful blue vase, a mason jar filled with red gems to hold the cutlery and blue dinner napkins. We displayed our French brunch menu in a blue and white striped frame. We kept the decor on the bar simple with 2 beautiful red daisies and striped blue and white cocktail napkins.
Our menu featured traditional French items along with dishes with the word French in the name.
  • Cheese is a MAJOR staple of the French diet. Did you know there are over 400 varieties of artisan cheeses in France? Our favorites are Brie, Roquefort and Chèvre
  • Baguettes are the perfect accompaniment to any meal with its crisp crust and rich, nutty flavor. The French typically get their bread fresh from the boulangerie. Think about pairing the baguette with cheese or chocolate
  • Crepes are flat pancakes typically stuffed with fruit or cream. We prefer to fill our crepes with Nutella and banana
  • Croque Monsieurs are an iconic French dish. They are an elevated version of ham and cheese sandwiches with gourmet cheese and toasted brioche bread 
  • Croissants are buttery, flaky, pastries with a crescent shape. We love chocolate croissants
  • Macarons are almond cookies filled with ganache, buttercream or jam 
  • Madeleines are miniature sponge cakes with a shell-like shape
We try not to take ourselves too seriously. We had some fun serving French Toast, French Breakfast Muffins and French Dip Sandwiches. We also served a variety of egg dishes. One of our guests even put together a fruit arrangement in the colors of the French flag.

A French brunch is not complete without wine! French wines are regarded all over the world over as benchmarks of FLAVOR. The most popular winemaking regions in France are Champagne, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Burgundy, Alsace and the Rhone Valley.
  • Champagne is the most POPULAR sparking wine in the world. Champagne is primarily made from black Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. The most common flavors in champagne are apple, pear, citrus, strawberry, cream and vanilla
  • Bordeaux is famous for its complex Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends that age beautifully
  • The Loire Valley is known for crisp white wines made primarily from Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc grapes
  • Burgundy / Bourgogne is a collection of winemaking areas southeast of Paris. They produce beautiful whites from Chardonnay grapes and masterful reds from Pinot Noir grapes. Beaujolais, another part of Burgundy, produces fruity wines from Gamay grapes
  • The Alsace region is an underappreciated source for outstanding white wine, especially Riesling and Pinot Gris. These wines can be as refreshing as a green apple or as heady as tropical flowers in sweeter versions
  • The Rhone Valley is divided into two areas: Northern Rhone reds are largely based on Syrah grapes. Southern Rhone wines often blend multiple grape varietals in a single bottle. Cotes du Rhone are made from northern and/or southern Rhone grapes and can be reds, whites or roses.
Archana topped each sparking cocktail with raspberry and blackberry garnishes. We suggest freezing the fruit on toothpicks. The fruit garnishes add a decorative element to each cocktail and keep the drinks cool.

If you are interested in learning more about French wines, we suggest you attend Astor Center's French wine class.
Tips for hosting a large brunch at home:
  • Set out glassware, tableware and utensils on your table the night before brunch
  • Stick to a menu with items that can be made ahead of time (bread, muffins, quiches). Minimize dishes that have to be cooked individually or plated (omelettes, crepes)
  • Buy fresh flowers. A $10 floral bouquet from your local grocery store is simple way to make your home look more inviting
  • Mix up a pitcher of cocktails ahead of time so you don't have to play bartender during the brunch. Alternatively you can set up a DIY bar with sparking french wine and a variety of juices that guests can quickly prepare on their own
  • Place a pitcher of cold water on the bar. Add a few slices of lemon or cucumber for some added flavor
  • Photo Booth props make everything more fun - check out our fun pictures with French berets, glasses, lips, bowties, hearts and more below! 

We had an amazing time at our French brunch. You DO NOT have to spend a fortune at Per Se, Le Bernardin, Bouley, Daniel or Jean-Georges to enjoy a French meal. Au revoir!

"Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé"
"There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved"––George Sand

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