California producers bring crème fraîche ― French-style sour cream ― to the market
CrÃ¨me fraÃ®che seems ubiquitous in restaurants these days: dolloped on berries, swirled into soups, and even whisked into salad dressings. Until recently, crÃ¨me fraÃ®che was available only in pricey little cartons imported from France. Now, several California companies are making high-quality crÃ¨me fraÃ®che, and it’s turning up in more grocers’ cases.
What’s all the fuss about? Slightly misnamed, crÃ¨me fraÃ®che is not in fact fresh but rather cultured, like sour cream. It’s silky smooth and, because of its higher fat content, doesn’t break or curdle when heated, making it a perfect base for sauces. Its gentle tang also complements sweets beautifully; use it instead of cream in dark chocolate ganache or whip it and spoon it over cake. CrÃ¨me fraÃ®che is best displayed simply, as in rich but refreshing cucumber soup.