Monday Aug 13, 2007

Fougasse

I've been on vacation for the last week. I normally devote a unreasonable amount of time to scouting, procuring, preparing and consuming good food and vacations provide even greater opportunities to "go nuts". We have had some our best meals on vacation and this most recent trip was no exception.

One of the trip highlights was the Phoenix Bread Company in Willits, CA. I knew nothing of this auspicious company before pulling into their parking lot. I was drawn by the sign reading "Home Style BBQ". I ended up sampling their baking rather than the BBQ. To quote the baker on duty, "Yeah, our BBQ's good, but you can get BBQ anywhere. You should eat the fougasse, it will blow you away." So I did and I was. It turns our that the Phoenix Bread Company is a long time chowhound favourite. The one I sampled was braised pork shoulder with onions and green olives. It was so good my mouth is watering writing about it a week later.

The best part of the whole story was that I challenged my wife to apply her bread making skills to creating her own fougasse. Last night we were rewarded with her first creation.

A large light brown oval loaf sprinkled with herbs on a wooden cutting board next to a chefs knife

The loaf cut in half revealing that it is stuffed with meat and mushrooms

And the verdict: As good as the Phoenix version. She was a little disappointed with this review until I explained that they have been making Fougasse every day for years and years. If she can do as well on her first attempt then it's a good sign that tasty times are ahead! With that in perspective she's said that she has several more filling and preparation ideas and promised that more fougasse will be coming my way. Yay!

Photo credit : Stephen Rutledge (iPhone with cool white fluorescent lighting)

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