Tag Archives: La Farm Bakery

A Visit to La Farm Bakery in Cary

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La Farm Bakery & Cafe ~ Cary, NC

I’ve had La Farm Bakery in Cary on my radar for some time now but for one reason or another I just simply have never had the opportunity to visit. As a lover of bread I just couldn’t let this go on. I finally visited this wonderful local bakery a few weeks ago and now that I have experienced first hand the fantastic breads, coffee and lunch in their cafe La Farm will now be a regular stop for me each time I am in Cary.

Master Baker Lionel Vatinet

La Farm Bakery introduced Cary and the greater Triangle area to their quality breads back in 1999. The bakery is the realization of a lifelong dream for Lionel Vatinet, a distinguished Master Baker and one of the most sought-after bread consultants in America. Located at Preston Corners Shopping Center on Cary Parkway, La Farm is a modern bakery that continues to respect and honor the centuries-old baking traditions and techniques Vatinet learned in his native France.

Fresh breads prepped for baking

During my visit I toured the bakery to learn more about how they create their fresh baked breads. I was pleased to learn that La Farm uses local products whenever possible. This includes using local flour from Carolina Ground in Asheville, connecting the farmer, miller and baker. I also learned that in April they installed a new MiWi “Ideal” deck oven that came all the way from Germany. With its precise temperature settings and six baking decks La Farm is able to step up their already impressive production to meet the ever increasing demand for their breads.

Bread display

As soon as you walk in the door there is a wonderful of array of breads and baked goods on display. La Farm typically offers around 15 different standard breads daily with 20 seasonal breads and baked treats added to the mix throughout the year. They feature a special bread each month. I visited on the last day they were offering the popular Jalapeno Cheddar Bread. June’s featured bread is a Pepperoni Cheddar Bread. I must go back and try this soon!

Sampling breads w/ Master Baker Lionel Vatinet

I had the opportunity to sit down with Lionel to sample some breads and learn more about the process of baking the different styles of breads they offer. Lionel has dedicated his life’s work to teaching the art & science of bread baking and I was very impressed by his warm and friendly interactions with customers and how he takes the time to explain his craft. I could tell that while the focus of the bakery is on the bread he also strives to educate the consumer. He regularly holds baking classes at both at La Farm and at his home and just recently published his first book “A Passion for Bread: Lessons from a Master Baker.”

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The “La Farm”

One of my favorite breads was a large crusty loaf called the “La Farm”. This 5-lb boule is Lionel Vatinet’s signature bread, developed following his tour in France, working with masters across the country. This bread combines several different types of flour, including local, organic ‘Carolina Ground’ flour. Lionel explained that in years past, families in small villages throughout France would visit community ovens to bake breads for the week. The “La Farm” bread pays homage to that time.

Cappuccino

It is also no secret that I love a good espresso and I never miss a chance to enjoy a drink while visiting a cafe for the first time. It makes me very happy that La Farm offers excellent coffee and espresso drinks using locally roasted Counter Culture Coffee. The coffee isn’t just an afterthought either. It is well prepared by trained baristas. I had a great cappuccino when I first arrived and just sat back to take in the in the bustling scene at the bakery.

Croque Monsieur

Learning about bread makes me hungry so I made sure I had lunch before the end of my first visit to La Farm. The cafe side of the bakery offers a wide variety of French and American-inspired sandwiches, salads, soups and entrees featuring artisan breads; for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. Some of the most popular items are the Croque Madame or the Quiche du Jour. My sandwich was excellent and I am now looking forward to going back for brunch to try the French toast!

White Chocolate Baguette

One other important note. Before my visit everyone I spoke to mentioned I should try La Farm’s White Chocolate Baguette. Since bread and chocolate are two of my most favorite things in the world I had a hunch I would like it. Let’s just say the baguette lives up to the hype and is definite “must try” for any visitor to the bakery.

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Lionel signing his book for a customer

Don’t be like me, don’t wait nine years to visit La Farm. It is a real gem of the Triangle and a fun place to take out of town guests. If my visit has left you inspired to learn more about the bread making process visit make sure you attend their open house on June 21st. See details below:

Bread Bakers Guild of America Open House – June 21st.
Master Baker Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery will host his second annual Bread Bakers Guild of America Open House at La Farm Bakery on June 21st from 3pm to 4pm. He’ll offer behind-the-scene tours of the bakery, followed by a bread shaping demo, and the opportunity to practice shaping dough by hand. Following the demo, guests will have 20 minutes to learn from Lionel’s European bread shaping techniques and practice with their own dough, which they’ll take home to bake. Many of Lionel’s breads will be sampled throughout the afternoon.

This event is free, and all are welcome. RSVP to Rachel Siegel at Rachel.Siegel@lafarmbakery.com or call 919-459-8336.

La Farm Bakery
4248 NW Cary Parkway – Cary, NC
website: http://www.lafarmbakery.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaFarm
twitter: @lafarmcary

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Valentine’s Day Recommendations

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Valentine’s Day Ideas ~ February 14, 2014

I know things are getting down to the wire but I wanted to share some resources to those of you still working on your Valentine’s Day plans. Andrea Weigl, the awesome food writer at the News & Observer, has put together a great list of Valentine’s Day offerings across the Triangle here. The folks at WRAL Out & About have also shared a great list of suggestions.

I share a few of my own Valentine’s picks below. Whatever you end up doing I hope it is a great one!

Special Valentine’s Day Dinners

  • La Farm Bakery in Cary – http://www.lafarmbakery.com 
    The French bakery in Cary is offering a special four-course dinner on Feb. 14 and 15 (menu below). They are offering seatings at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Feb. 14 and at 7 p.m. on Feb. 15. Costs is $75 per couple. Limited reservations are available. Call 919-657-0657 for reservations.

    La Farm Valentine’s Dinner for Two
    Menu

    Soup L’Oignon Gratinee

    topped with a gruyere cheese crostini 

    Individual Main Course

    (choice of:)    

    STEAK & MUSHROOM “au poivre” with BRANDY, MUSTARD PEPPERCORN SAUCE

    Grilled steak and sautéed mushrooms on La Farm bread with our rich Brandy, Dijon mustard and peppercorn sauce, topped with steamed asparagus

    CHICKEN CORDON BLEU

    Chicken Paillard layered with local City ham and gruyere cheese with a light marsala sauce, topped with steamed asparagus 

    SALMON MOUTARD

    Roasted salmon with mustard shallot sauce and haricot verts  

    Fromage et Salad for Two

    A selection of

    Chapel Hill Creamery & Goat Lady Dairy cheeses,

    along with a salad and La Farm breads

    Decadent Dessert Board

    A delicious selection of our signature desserts,

    Including our chocolate layer cake,

    chocolate covered strawberries, and French macaroons.

     

  • Sola Coffee & Cafe in North Raleigh – http://solacoffee.com
    Join Sola for a special Valentine’s Evening with a night of live Jazz music and dinner for two for just $29.95. Neapolitan pizza, salad, dessert and two drinks of choice. Reservations encouraged. Email: solacoffee@gmail.com

    Local Chocolatiers 

    • Videri Chocolate Factory – viderichocolatefactory.com
      Videri Chocolate Factory in downtown Raleigh will be open on Valentines Day until 11pm. They are offering a complimentary glass of Champagne to enjoy while browsing their shops for chocolates to purchase. Videri also has great chocolates and a special Valentines gift pack offer. If you plan to buy chocolates, make sure you stop by early this week to avoid the rush on Friday.

    • Escazu Chocolates – http://www.escazuchocolates.com/
      Escazu is another great bean to bar chocolatier in Raleigh that has wonderful dark chocolate bars and confections. Here is a post I did about Escazu back in 2010. Again, if you plan to buy some of these great local chocolates make sure you stop by before Friday as I garuntee there will be a line out the door for last minute shoppers!

     

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Buy Local ~ Triangle Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays right around the corner here are my suggestions for locally made products and locally owned shops to consider when doing your holiday shopping. Each suggestion includes a link to the shop or product website for more information and locations where they can be found. I hope you will help support our local community and considering buying local this year! Happy Holidays!!

Foodie Gifts
These items are perfect for the foodie friends and family members on your shopping list. They also make for great host gifts while doing the holiday party circuit and will ensure you are invited back next year!

1. Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Butter – Durham, NC
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Big Spoon Roasters makes handcrafted nut butters from scratch in Durham, North Carolina. Their carefully selected nuts and wildflower honeys are sourced from local and like-minded farmers who share their dedication to authentic quality. Each small batch is roasted, milled, and packaged while still warm to produce nut butters that are uniquely fresh, delicious, and nutritious.

2. Escazu Chocolate – Raleigh, NC
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Escazu Chocolate is a fantastic “bean to bar” chocolate maker located in Downtown Raleigh. They directly source fine cacao from small farms, they then roast and grind on antique equipment. Escazu handcrafts bars, truffles, confections and more at their workshop and store on Blount Street.

3. Videri Chocolate Raleigh, NC
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Videri Chocolate is another great chocolate maker in Raleigh. The company was started by group of friendly folks who wanted to create wonderful chocolate, from bean to bar, everyday. Operations are located in a cozy downtown chocolate factory in Raleigh’s warehouse district that scrupulously sources every ingredient to insure a high quality, responsible chocolate.

4. Nello’s Sauce – Raleigh, NC
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Nello’s Sauce was born in 2010 in Neal “Nello” McTighe’s kitchen with his now wife Heather by his side. Since then Nello’s has grown rapidly to become one of the leading premium tomato sauce companies in the southeast, gaining many loyal customers and rave reviews. The Nello’s mission is to create the world’s most outstanding and innovative tomato sauces and to be a better business by fighting hunger through a partnership with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

5. Topo Distillery Spirits – Chapel Hill, NC
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The Top of the Hill Distillery is the only USDA Certified Organic, local and suatainable distillery in the South. Their gold medal winning TOPO Vodka, TOPO Piedmont Gin and TOPO Carolina Whiskey are all hand-crafted from organic Carolina soft red winter wheat grown less than 100 miles from their Chapel Hill, NC home. They also have a cool “Age Your Own” whiskey kits that make for a great gift!

6. Vintage Bee Honey – Chapel Hill, NC
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Vintage Bee’s signature line of creamed honeys are made with 12 fruits and spices each with their own distinct character. The versatility of Vintage Bee Creamed Honey is only limited by the imagination. It’s perfect on toast, sandwiches, bagels, and in oatmeal. You can’t beat it as a topping for pancakes or waffles and it’s a healthy sweetener for coffee or tea. It’s great for baking and cooking, and is outstanding on seafood or as a marinade for vegetables or meats.

7. Cackalacky – Chapel Hill, NC
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Cackalacky is headquartered in Chapel Hil where they brew and distribute the famously original Cackalacky Spice Sauce, Spice Nuts and are now collaborating with Fullsteam Brewery to brew the awesomely hoppy and zippy Cackalacky Pale Ale! Founded by Page Skelton, they are a small family-owned and operated NC business dedicated to “making everyday food and drink an extraordinary experience.”

8. Crude Bitters & Soda – Raleigh, NC
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Crude Bitters & Sodas was started in 2012 with a DIY attitude and the thought that delicious cocktails and soft drinks could be improved upon. Each bitters and soda flavor is hand-made by human hands utilizing only the finest ingredients and careful attention. Crude Sodas are old-fashioned fountain sodas served via draft. The flavors are unique and crafted to be savored purely on their own, sweetened with a perfect balance of natural sugars. Crude Bitters are crafted from 100% maceration in alcohol, with no chemicals or dyes.

9. “A Passion For Bread” Book by Lionel Vatinet – Cary, NC
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In “A Passion for Bread” Lionel Vatinet, Master Baker of Cary’s La Farm Bakery shares his knowledge of bread, passed on from a long line of French artisan bakers, to the American home, with detailed instructions and dozens of step-by-step photographs. It covers everyday loaves like baguettes, ciabatta, and whole grain breads, as well as loaves for special occasions, including Beaujolais Bread, Jalapeño Cheddar Bread, and Lionel Vatinet’s celebrated sourdough boule. The book offers a detailed introduction to bread baking, 65 recipes, and 350 full-color photographs.

10. Huntington Kitchen GranolaRaleigh, NC
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Huntington Kitchen delivers classically inspired, artisanal foods with an innovative twist to the people of North Carolina. We specialize in nut butters, granolas & other specialty items. All of their products are scratch made using the freshest all-natural, locally-sourced ingredients available. When you place an order through their online store, you can now select FREE local pick up and pick up your goodies from Cafe Helios in downtown Raleigh (413 Glenwood Avenue).

Merchandise & Accessories – Local
The Triangle is also home to some great local businesses who make their products right here in North Carolina. In addition to the three local suggestions provided below, you should also check out local places like Deco and Cimos in Raleigh and Gather in Cary to find more products and gift ideas created by local artisans.

11. Mill & Bird Leather BagsDurham, NC
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Mill & Bird was started by designer Krissy Anderson of Durham and her hand crafted leather bags are made right here in North Carolina. Krissy has always been a bag addict and a sucker for all things handmade. She taught herself how to sew leather after she couldn’t find the simple, elegant leather bag she craved. No studs, no zippers, no bells and whistles – just beautiful, top quality leather cut in a timeless design. Mill & Bird leather bags are simple, chic bags made for everyday use. Available at select boutiques and online at millandbird.com. (Photo courtesy of Gretchen Mathison Photography)

12. HatchDurham, NC
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Hatch is a pop-up shop full of thoughtful home goods & gifts for the Modern Southerner. It is located on the American Tobacco Campus on Blackwell St. under the Cuban Revolution sign. Hatch is a concept born out of wanting a unique and dynamic shopping experience in downtown Durham. Guided by their love for excellent design, you’ll notice that all the products at Hatch fit a particular style of the Modern South – colorful, graphic, simple, approachable, and thoughtfully designed. As often as they can, they source goods made in the USA, often right here in the South, and often from suppliers that are small batch independent designer/makers, craftspeople, and/or eco-friendly producers. Products at Hatch have their own stories before arriving at the shop, stories that they hope you take home and make uniquely yours.

13. JustNeem – Cary, NC

Just Neem

JustNeem is a Body Care company based in Cary, NC, specializing in natural premium Neem products for body and skin care. JustNeem is a certified B-Corporation which use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. All of their products contain naturally grown Neem and other pure ingredients that help sustain healthy and soothe irritated skin. Their Neem comes from their own orchards grown organically in the deserts of Africa. Products they offer range from soaps, creams, and lotions and they also have put together a special JustNeem Gift Guide just in time for the holidays.

Locally Roasted Coffee
I know this gift list includes a lot of coffee products but hey, you know how much I love coffee! This holiday whether you give the gift of coffee beans, gift cards, or coffee gear I suggest doing so from the following great local coffee businesses.

14. Slingshot Coffee Company – Raleigh, NC
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Sling Shot Coffee is a favorite of mine. It is my “go to” for a party host gift. Made right here in Raleigh, Slingshot was started Jennifer Bonchak a little over a year ago. Jennifer hand brews and bottles small batches of cold brew coffee using only two ingredients — quality, in-season, single-origin, organic coffee beans roasted locally by Counter Culture Coffee and filtered tap water from the City of Oaks. Slingshot can be found in several shops around the Triangle including Whole Foods. Check out some fun suggested cold brew drink recipes here.

15. Raleigh Coffee Company – Raleigh, NC
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Raleigh Coffee Company is a small batch roaster that operates out of North Raleigh. I’m a huge fan of the Ethiopian Yergacheffe and their Honduras Decaf is incredible and drinks just like regular. Visit their website to learn more about their ongoing Holiday Bean Project: Haiti Playground where $5 from every bag sold will benefit children in Haiti. Also, if you have a lot of coffee lovers on your list check out their Holiday Wholesale Program for special pricing on orders of 5 or more bags of coffee.

16. Carrboro Coffee Roasters Carrboro, NC
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Carrboro Coffee Roasters Company is Chapel Hill/Carrboro’s premiere small batch coffee roaster. With a worldwide reach that focuses on, works within, and gives back to the community they live in, and the world at large. The coffee is sourced with these ideals in mind. They source through Direct Relationships with the farmers, and offer Certified Organic & Fair Trade coffees. They are also careful to source coffee that is grown and processed humanely, and allows the farmers the means to live decently. Owner Scott Conary regularly travels to coffee growing countries around the world to establish and support their Direct Relationship model.

17. Counter Culture Coffee – Durham, NC
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Counter Culture Coffee is roasted right here in Durham. Each holiday season they release a special, limited edition coffee dedicated to celebration and good cheer. One dollar from every package sold goes to Counter Culture’s partners in Burundi to support their transition to becoming Certified Organic.

18. Larry’s Beans Coffee – Raleigh, NC
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Larry’s Beans is a great local roaster Raleigh. Their coffee is Fair Trade, Shade Grown, and Organic, all slow-roasted to bring out every note of indigenous flavor. Their green-o-vated facilities use passive solar construction, active solar systems, radiant floors, zoned heating, composting, and rainwater harvesting to minimize our impact on this awesome planet. They offer 15 Creative Blends and 15 Single-Origin Blends, along with limited-roast favorites like Rockin’ Holiday Blend.

Coffee Shop Gift Cards, Coffee Gear & Stocking Stuffers
Following up on the coffee bean suggestions, nothing beats a gift card to your favorite local coffee shop. There several great local coffee shops in the Triangle and most offer gift cards and sell cool coffee equipment for the home brewer. Here are a few of my favorite local shops that are the perfect place to shop for the coffee nerd on your list.

19. Jubala Village Coffee – Raleigh, NC
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Jubala has an array of coffee brewing equipment for sale in their shop. From pour overs to grinders to kettles. They also sell bags of Counter Culture Coffee and offer gift cards. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and enjoy explaining the different brew methods and equipment. They can help you find the perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life.

20. Cocoa Cinnamon – Durham, NC
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Cocoa Cinnamon is another great place for coffee gift cards, brewing equipment, and stocking stuffers. You will also find a host of teas and fine bean to bar chocolates for sale in their shop as well. While you’re there make sure you walk up the street to Fullsteam Brewery and buy a growler of beer for your holiday party.

21. Bean Traders – Durham, NC
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Bean Traders not only sells their own coffee beans (roasted in house), but the shop also has many different products from local artisans that make for great gifts & stocking stuffers. While you’re over that way you might want to drive down the road and swing by Rise Durham for a dozen donuts. They will be a hit at your next holiday party.

22. Sola Coffee & Cafe’ – Raleigh, NC
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Sola Coffee & Cafe is great spot to pick up a bag of locally roasted Counter Culture Coffee and purchase gift cards. Sola also has a great food menu in addition to excellent coffee & espresso drinks so a gift card can go towards coffee or a fun dinner out. Sola will play host to a Holiday “Pop-Up” Market on Saturday December 7th from 10am-2pm providing a great opportunity to purchase gifts from local artists.

23. Electric Beanz – Raleigh, NC
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Electric Beanz is a cool little coffee bar that has brought third wave coffee to southern Wake County. They are located at the junction of Raleigh, Garner and Fuquay. Electric Beanz serves Larry’s Beans coffee & Stockton Graham espresso, smoothies, frappes, tea, & baked goods. Coffee beans, mugs, and gift cards are available at the shop. This year they are having a “Black Friday” drink special. Buy One drink, Get One free from 6:30am ’til noon this Friday (11/29).

Specialty Stores
The Triangle also has great local places to find gifts for those who like to cook or enjoy a nice glass of wine. All of the places listed below have great staff to help you select the perfect gift.

24. Savory Spice Shop -Spices – Raleigh, NC
Best spice shop in Raleigh @savoryraleigh in Lafayette Village. #fathersdaygifts

Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh has Over 400 herbs & spices, 140 proprietary blends freshly ground weekly. This is a great locally owned and operated shop where you can buy spices in almost any size and even have the ability to purchase as little as a half ounce for your recipes. Bottles of unique fresh spices make for great hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. Spice gift packages and gift cards are also available.

25. Whisk Carolina – Cary, NC
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Whisk Carolina is a unique, independent and locally operated kitchenware store that offers kitchen, entertaining, and specialty gourmet food items as well as cooking classes and services for those who love to cook. Whether you are a casual home cook or a professional chef, you can find quality cookware and tools at Whisk to enhance your cooking and entertaining experience. Gift cards available.

26. Taylor’s Wine Shop – Raleigh, NC
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Taylor’s Wine Shop is a hidden gem in North Raleigh. Don’t let its unassuming exterior fool you. This is a top notch wine shop with a wide selection of wines offered by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. In addition to wine, they sell local products like handmade soaps, local craft beers, Escazu Chocolate, and Larry’s Beans & Carrboro Coffee.

27. Wine Authorities – Raleigh & Durham, NC
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Wine Authorities in Durham (and its soon to open Raleigh location) is the perfect wine store for drinkers of everyday wine, with all wines being under $50 a bottle, with the vast majority of the inventory under $15. They also feature online private wine purchase history for all customers with descriptions and label photos and have a super-friendly staff. Gift cards available.

Upcoming Holiday Markets
The annual Rock & Shop Market in Durham on Saturday Nov. 30th will feature over 75 artisans selling their wares alongside bands, DJs, and food trucks. To learn more about upcoming holiday markets follow my friend Kim over at TriangleLocalista.com. Kim has put together an awesome summary of upcoming Holiday Markets where you can find a host of locally made products from local artisans.


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