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Cafe' Creme

Does anyone know of a cafe' that still serves a cafe' creme that is a pot of coffee and a pot of steamed milk? I know I'm dating myself...pre Nespresso.

Posted by
2067 posts

Traditionally, café crème is made from strong (expresso) coffee and cold cream which has been whipped, or crème fraîche, and added to the coffee. Steamed milk is, by definition, not cream.

What you are describing is similar to a café au lait or perhaps more accurately a cappuccino which is made of strong coffee and steamed milk.

Cappuccino is widely available at French cafés and is generally served early in the day. However, pots of coffee are not generally available at cafés.

Posted by
8515 posts

Kate—that’s café au lait and I’ve seen it only at hotel breakfasts or in my own kitchen every morning. Drinking it as I write. I’ve never seen a two-pot dealie in a café in France. As long as I can remember, cafés have served espresso except for some rural ones back in the 1970s.

So did you run across the two pots in a café somewhere? We’re both dating ourselves.

Posted by
749 posts

Ah, the lovely ceremony of mixing your coffee and steamed milk from two pots at breakfast! I have those pots somewhere in my kitchen cabinets. The last time I had the two pots other than a hotel was breakfast at the Laduree on Rue Royale in Paris.

Kateja and Bets, you’ve inspired me...I’m going to do a real café au lait this morning at home!

Posted by
776 posts

In olden days, (10 plus years ago) there was a place on rue Saint Antoine at the Bastille where I always had a coffee with a separate pot of steamed milk. A piece or two of chocolate came with it. The chocolate with coffee has also disappeared.

Posted by
385 posts

In my 13 years in France, "Cafe Au Lait" has caused almost as much confusion as "Americaine"

If I want a larger milky coffee I ask for a "café grande creme", and if I want an ordinary larger sized black coffee I ask for a "cafe allongé". I have never been served a coffee with whipped cream. The grande creme may or may not arrive with the milk in a separate pot, depending on the cafe.

Posted by
8515 posts

Glad you are inspired, Barbara. You deserve it. Confession: I microwave the milk in the bowl (yeh, we have those French coffee bowls in our house) or super-size American mug and add the stove-top espresso coffee afterwards, 50/50. I use the six-cup pot and drink it all.

I don't think Kate is referring to the crèmes with the tiny pitcher of milk to mix into the cup of espresso but the two larger pitchers of coffee and milk to mix to taste.

Posted by
2067 posts

At the new cafés of Alain Ducasse, with locations in the 1st, 6th, and 11th arrondissements, chocolate, and a glass of very cold, filtered water, is offered with every cup of coffee or express sold.

Posted by
749 posts

Uhh-oh, Bets, you must have heard my microwave bell. 😊. The café au lait pots I remember from Laduree may have had more coffee than milk, but there was enough to pour two cups. Well, Laduree is serving poké bowls now, so who knows.

Posted by
5159 posts

We had a number of places in France serve coffee with a side pitcher of steamed milk - not cream, but I think it was only at breakfast. I did occasionally order a café créme (sorry, don't know how to do the grave accent) in cafés or bars, but what I got didn't come in two pots, at least, not very often.

My memory of what kind of coffee where is fading, even though it's only been a few months since we were there.

Posted by
494 posts

Yes this was always at a hotel breakfast. I believe we did order cafe au lait. It was heavenly to sit with a full pot of coffee and mix it with the steamed milk. And linger over baguettes and croissants.
I did have it recently, again at a hotel, but that was in a little town in the south. Not to be named, my happy place.

Posted by
494 posts

PS. I'd say the pots each held about 2 cups worth. Maybe less in the steamed milk pot.

Posted by
6734 posts

I have been drinking cafe creme in Paris for the last 35 years nearly every year and have never had it served as whipped cream or creme fraiche (seriously -- sour cream?) mixed with coffee. It has always been steamed milk and espresso. On occasion we have received the separate little pot of hot milk -- the last time was a year ago at one of the cafes along the border of Luxembourg gardens but I cannot remember which (and I may have confused it with another spot; I just remember being surprised as we had not seen that in years). It is not a common way to present coffee during the day; hotels often serve it this way at breakfast, although with breakfast buffets you will probably have a machine which dispenses varied coffee drinks. Cafe au lait is pretty much only called that at breakfast but the cafe creme later in the day is pretty much the same thing.

Posted by
5159 posts

Right after I posted this morning, I was waiting for my Dad to come pick me up. It's blustery and wet today, so I had on the rain jacket I bought in France this year. I stuck my hand in the pocket, and up popped a receipt for lunch at Brasserie Le Munich in Annency - including 1 expresso and 1 petit créme. The petit créme would have been for my husband, but I don't remember if it was served in two pots or just one.

Good lunch there, by the way. He had great fish and chips, and I had a lovely local sausage with sauerkraut. We also had a pichet of white wine.

Posted by
8432 posts

Carette, in Paris, at Place des Vosges / Trocadero serves a silver pot of coffee and a silver pot of hot milk when i order a café crème there. And that’s any time of day

I often order café crème in France and it can vary from a cappuccino to a latté to café au lait - i never know what i’ll get.

Posted by
5159 posts

Anita, do you use radiolingua? Do you like it? How does it compare to Duolingo or Babbel?

Posted by
1135 posts

My goodness. I echo Janet. Whipped cream, or chantilly in French would be found in a café viennois, Never in a café-crème or café au lait.

Crème fraîche doesn't even touch coffee.

Café-crème = café au lait.

I love a good café au lait.

Though I do show the movie LES DIABOLIQUES to my upperschool French students at Halloween and did see the pot of coffee and pot of creme being served at breakfast. But that was in the 1950s lol

Posted by
8515 posts

That original is a fantastic movie! A once in a lifetime must-see.

Yes, crème fraîche goes in savory cooking, not drinks.

Posted by
6734 posts

Yes the Melange in Vienna which is there version of a creme is served with schlag. In Paris if you order a cappuccino you will get a sort of icky drink with whipped cream and chocolate on top for lots more money than a creme -- in Italy a cappuccino is pretty much identical to a cafe creme in France although they will froth the milk up a lot which is less common in France. My husband made the mistake of ordering one on a trip a few years ago -- we had just arrived in Paris after a month in Italy and so he reflexively ordered cappuccino and received that dessert like horror -- I think it was 6 Euro.

Posted by
385 posts

For those not in the know, crème fraîche is heavy cream with an added baterial culture. Definitely not what you want in your coffee

Posted by
4727 posts

Whipped cream, or chantilly in French

Chantilly is whipped cream with vanilla and sugar added. Never served with coffee.

Posted by
2067 posts

Sour cream may look like crème fraîche but the two are not the same. Sour cream has less fat and added bacterial culture to thicken it. (You don´t have the two confused do you Simon?) Crème fraîche naturally contains the necessary bacteria to thicken it. Sour cream will curdle if added to coffee or anything hot. Crème fraîche will not which is why there is no shortage of recipes using crème fraîche in coffee drinks form café crème to Irish coffee.

As an example, here is a café crème recipe calling for 8 cl of coffee to 2 cl of crème fraîche liquide . Of note is the authors comment about establishments replacing the cream with milk or frothed milk - c'est un abus.

I also agree that café crème is not café au lait.

Posted by
8432 posts

You can’t say “in France it is this...”
- in Paris alone, every café i go to makes a café crème differently, as i said above.

Now, officially there might be a correct way to make a café crème, but in practice every café, every worker in a café, will make it many different ways.

Posted by
1135 posts

Any café or chocolat viennois I've had has had chantilly. Though many times it's just crème fouettée.

Posted by
8515 posts

Crème fraîche liquide is heavy fresh cream for whipping, as in a good Irish coffee, while crème fraîche is the cultured cream for savory recipes. It differs from sour cream but is used similarly.

I made the mistake once and quickly learned what goes in the coffee and what goes in the poulet à la crème. Crème fraîche in my coffee tasted atrocious.

Posted by
385 posts

Tochard - we buy creme fraiche every week from the laitiere who makes it. She has never corrected me. We get something that you have to pry from the pot with a spoon - you wouldn't want to be putting that in your coffee.

Posted by
16 posts

To the OP's original point, about "dating" oneself--My wife and I noticed this on our most recent visit to France, that the practice of serving coffee with a pot of warmed or steamed milk as part of petit déjeuner is now passé. It used to be common in hotels, and even in cafes that served petit déjeuner (croissant, butter, coffee). Most often, I recall if you asked for coffee (un café), you got whatever that establishment thought was appropriate for that time of day or meal or moment. Now you have to know longs, shorts, big, little, cream, milk. In order to get what we used to get, you might have to say, Un café allongé, et aussi du lait chaud servi dans un petit pot en forme de vache, s'il vous plaît.

Posted by
5159 posts

EBB:

un petit pot en forme de vache, s'il vous plaît.

I love it! We got steamed milk in a little pitcher at our Provence hotel this past June, but it wasn't in the shape of a cow. More's the pity.

Posted by
7718 posts

Wouldn’t one need to be at Bertie Wooster‘s to be offered cream in a cow creamer??

Or at least at Gussie Finkbottle’s or Finknozzle’s or whatever his name is ??!!

Those things don’t cross the Channel, do they?

Posted by
8869 posts

Sure glad I like my coffee ( or espresso) black. Looks like it makes life so much less complicated :-)

Posted by
5159 posts

But Joe, you don't get a cute cow pitcher!

Posted by
3336 posts

Jane - yes I do! It is so much better than anything I've ever used. Right now I'm listening to the Coffee Break French podcasts on my commute. I have learned more in the last month in my car than in 3 years of high school French. Mark is an amazing teacher and teaches French methodically, embeds grammar, uses real-life situations, and teaches you how to speak conversationally. I started back at the beginning and learned the "why" of things that were never taught to me in school. Highly recommend!

Posted by
5159 posts

Thanks, Anita. I'll check it out. We're going to Italy next year, but hope to return to France soon.

I speak a little French, but I always need to review before I try to use it. This past year I used Duolingo and the Foreign Service series, available online.

I'll check out radiolingua for Italian, as well. Thanks again.

Posted by
494 posts

Wow, my post took on a life of its own. I'm so pleased. 37 responses!

Does anyone want to hear how my daughter and I almost didn't realize that we were suppose to cook our own soft boiled eggs at the breakfast buffet? Now that would have been a major faux pas.

Posted by
5159 posts

Kateja, at a hotel in Haarlem, I once carefully cracked and started to shell what I thought was a boiled egg... And had it run all over my plate, dripping down my hand... I dumped the whole mess in the table-top trash receptacle, which immediately started leaking raw egg. And just then one of the staff came up ...

I had encountered "cook your own eggs" before, but at this hotel I didn't see the egg cooker, and just assumed the eggs were already cooked. I considered wearing a disguise the next morning, or changing hotels. :-)

Posted by
494 posts

Hi Jane,

That's exactly what my daughter and I came close to doing. We had selected our breakfast items, including what we thought we soft boiled eggs. We were headed to our table, when I noticed the cooker and the timer and the little sign in English that said "5 minutes". Duh. After that, we enjoyed cooking our own perfect soft boiled eggs.

Posted by
2349 posts

Kim, you warm my heart with your Wodehouse reference! Once we were window shopping in New Orleans and I saw a whole display of silver cow creamers. My husband did not share my fascination. But I had whole visions of determined aunts, scheming fiancees, counts in disguise as footmen, and fainting parlourmaids. And butlers shimmering in to save the day.

Posted by
5159 posts

Karen, now I have to go back and reread all those wonderful books!

Posted by
8432 posts

I’ve never encountered “cook your own eggs”! Wow, i always learn something new here. It’s actually brilliant. Saves time for the staff and i get my egg exactly right... win/win.

Posted by
5159 posts

Susan, not always. We've stayed at, I think, 5 hotels that had "cook your own" eggs. In our hotel in Chamonix this year, someone kept taking my egg! I'd put it in, check the time, then when I went to fetch it it was gone! This happened at least three times there.

At the Hotel Stechelberg in Lauterbrunnen there was an indelible marker next to the basket of fresh eggs, with a sign telling people to mark their eggs. That's the only place I've seen that. All the others you just hoped for the best.

Posted by
8432 posts

Jane, that definitely ruins the whole point of it - what is wrong with some people??

Posted by
8869 posts

In our hotel in Chamonix this year, someone kept taking my egg! I'd put it in, check the time, then when I went to fetch it it was gone! This happened at least three times there.

Well, at least justice was done when the thief cracked open their ill gotten ( under cooked) egg.

Posted by
5159 posts

Joe32F, I never thought of that! Thank you.

Posted by
494 posts

Another possible scenario: the egg thief might have been someone (like myself) who not being familier with the "cook your own egg" system, might have thought the egg was being kept warm in the simmering cooker.
And before everyone piles on..no I did not take someone's egg. I'm the one that almost took a raw egg thinking it was cooked.

Posted by
5159 posts

Kateja, that's why I like the idea of a marker to identify one's egg. And a sign telling people to do so.