Brunch a la francaise

Coffee and macaroon

French brunch is elegant and filling

“Brunch.” In English it can be a noun or a verb, and it’s universally recognized as a hallmark of lazy weekend mornings.

Chicago is a city of serious brunch; in fact, Yelp users rated Chicago the number-one brunch city in the U.S. in 2013. Perhaps not surprisingly, you can find cafes, restaurants and even bars in Chicago that serve brunch seven days a week.

The French brunch (or brunch à la française), however, is strictly reserved for Sundays. French people typically have only a quick, light breakfast on weekdays, so they make the most of their weekly chance to fill up on more elegant fare.

Paris and outside for brunch

Outside of Paris, people still tend to prefer the traditional three meals a day, but weekend brunch has become a trend in the City of Light as well. A typical French brunch may include an orange juice, choice of coffee, tea or chocolate, yogurt, muesli, viennoiseries (croissant, pastries, etc.) or a baguette with butter and marmalade, along with a savory dish.

American and French brunch items may appear similar, but don’t expect an American-style omelette when you’re having brunch a la francaise. French omelettes have a lighter, fluffier texture than their crispy, browned U.S counterparts. Their smooth, pale appearance is achieve by whisking the eggs while they cook, while shaking the pan to keep them from sticking. The fillings (usually cheese or herbs) are add to the center just before the omelette is rolled up. American omelettes, of course, are heavier and can be filled with almost literally anything.

Chicagoans instinctively understand brunch not just as a meal, but a chance to relax and socialize for hours with friends, conversation, and often cocktails. This, of course, is how the French see food in general.

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