Feeding them cheese bread: The rise of modern gougère on restaurant menus

It starting with Elliot’s, was, as far as I can remember, the first time I joined the wave of great cheese puffs. Gold outside, molten inside, covered in a leaning tower parmesan; that’s perfection. I was interviewing someone at the time, and could clearly hear my ecstatic glee as I recorded the recording the next day.

If you have eaten at any trendy European restaurant in London Over the past few months, you may have noticed a trend forming. No, it’s not scantily clad Scandi dining rooms or soaring skies alcohol entry point to the list, which is a little tastier and a lot better; cheesecake (Gougere, if you sympathize with our friends on the channel, or beignet if you have recently visited New Orleans). Plate of golden balls – piled high like some kind of savory croquembouche and almost always covered in a healthy pile of shaved ice cheese – started flooding Instagram. It seems that every time I check menus online (study the classics before dinner) or sit down at a table, they are there: like a bright beacon, beckoning me to order.

Whatever name you use, cheese puffs seem to agree on their differences. Texture changes are a common factor – at Elliot’s, the cheesecakes are almost wet, crispy on the outside and melty with melted cheese on the inside. In Sargasso, they seem to hold a little more integrity, a little more solidity, and ease. It is said that the concept of cheese puffs was first born as a Gougere in Burgundy. When referring to a cooking method, the name is likely referring to a dish more akin to haggis – a stew of herbs, bacon, cheese and meat mixed with blood and offal then cooked in the stomach – usually of a sheep. Over time, modern creations – including choux pastry mixed with cheese – have gained popularity and become associated with names.

Puff cheese at Elliot’s

(Molly Codyre)

Origin of Gougere We know today is a bit uncertain. The Choux pastry itself was introduced to France by the chefs of Catherine de’ Medici in the 1500s, and some argue that the first iteration of a Gougere was on the menu in Sens in 1571. However, this was disputed by the inhabitants of the village of Burgundy Flogny-la-Chapelle, who believed it was invented by a pastry chef who lived in the town in 19th century. It is believed that this repetition may have been borne out of the ramequin pastry, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (after its primary definition as a ceramic dish) as a type of food Includes cheese, eggs and butter. Based on The Old Foodie, referring to this dish dating back to the mid-1600s.

While they have certainly been adapted and modernized over the years, the original gougeres served as the blueprint for the cheesecake we see today. Traditionally made with comte or gruyere, today you’ll find everything repeated with everything from goat cheese to gorgonzola – and labels ranging from rudimentary to vintage and everything in between.

“Beignets put it right on our menu,” says Nicholas Balfe, chef and co-founder of Larry’s in Peckham. “Who doesn’t want melted, melted cheese inside a deep-fried doughnut?!” Like most places, cheddar beignets can be found in the snacks section of Larry’s menu, in between focaccia and mortadella. It’s a fitting spot – snacks are exclusive accompaniments to your pre-dinner drinks while you consider the finer elements of the menu. “I guess the inspiration behind it made a delicious morsel [or] “I knew that I wanted the feeling of the food to be intimate and fun, and also have a sense of familiarity with it,” said Ollie Templeton, director at Carousel in London.

Cheese puff at Larry’s in Peckham

(Molly Codyre)

This is a concept that Balfe also refers to: “I think they have a certain sense of nostalgia,” he tells me. “They mentioned childhood snacks like Wotsits and cheese toast. They feel happier, more appetizing, but also a vehicle for artisan cheeses, so I suppose they tick a few boxes for chefs and diners.” Artisan cheese is a key element of the cheese puff movement; Balfe uses smoked Lincolnshire Poacher at Larry’s, Carousel chooses Corra Linn from Neal’s Yard Dairy, The Dusty Knuckle fills them with Holbrook – goat cheese from the Lake District. There’s a local element that ties all of this together; Well-crafted British cheeses top the rest, giving these snacks a dramatic twist.

“If we’re classifying cheese puffs as any form of cheese that’s breaded and fried then yes: I’ve certainly seen a lot of puffs,” said Lucas Oakeley, senior content editor at Mob Kitchen. more cheese on the menu lately,” said Lucas Oakeley, senior content editor at Mob Kitchen. He added: “It’s really hard to say where a cheesecake begins and where a mozzarella stick ends. Oakeley said he first remembers seeing cheese puffs on the menu, like me, at Elliot’s.

Angela Hui, food and drink writer at Time out, echoing Balfe’s ideas about comfort. “I think about food and why we see more things like cheesecake, people are craving comfort, solace and nostalgia. It’s cold and we’re still traumatized by the ongoing pandemic and food is a way to bring joy into our miserable lives,” she said. “Consider the cheese puff, it’s a no-brainer. When done well, it’s warm, rich, and covered with a thick layer of salty parmesan. ” She added that while she has yet to find the perfect cheesecake, the repeat at Mayfair’s BiBi is “very, very good”.

Cheese puffs at The Dusty Knuckle

(The Dusty Knuckles)

The cheeses at Elliot’s came by chance. “Back in the beginning, I can’t remember exactly when, our chef and master baker Adam Sellar, tried to make gougeres and there were some leftovers,” co-owner Brett Redman told me. “As a snack, he decided to familiarelle it and toss it in the deep fryer. The rest, as they say, is history.” So – not quite gougeres, not quite a cheesecake. Elliot’s formula combines Isle of Mull cheddar from Neal’s Yard Dairy and combines to create a stretchy texture. It turns out, however, that while Elliot’s iteration may be to blame for this current boom on menus across London and beyond, Claridge’s is already one step ahead of the game. The cheese on the menu at The Painter’s Room is a reinvention of the version featured on the menu at Claridge’s more than three decades ago. Executive chef Martyn Nail said: “The cheese sandwich was really a regular on the canape menu when I started working at Claridge’s in 1986.

The concept of familiarity and comfort has been brought up frequently in conversations on the subject, with both chefs and professional eaters. Fatty, savory cheese and sizzling pastries have been happy friends for centuries – possibly even since the 1500s – so it seems this combination has been shunned by restaurateurs all over the world. country intervenes. What drives food trends can always feel invisible – maybe Hui was right, and the rise of cheesecake was fueled by a collective squeeze for comfort, or perhaps it started. derived from a desire to look local, to celebrate British cheese in a new and exciting way. Or maybe it was just the simple pleasure of the innate deliciousness of buttery pastries and rich cheeses; sharp tang and intermittent oil. As Hui says: “It’s salty, salty, and a little fun, opening up cravings before you indulge.” Feeding them cheese bread: The rise of modern gougère on restaurant menus


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