Running in to fall, still grasping onto the straws of summer...

Losing the warmth of the summer and the long day is never very fun, but carreening into fall has it's advantages — cider donuts, hot pumpkin pie, soups and stews — all make it worth while.

Of course, I’m still holding on to summer and the French Food and Drink Federation is a great help with that. They were kind enough to make my desire to hang on to summer all the more easy with some delicious items — ones that I had to come up with something even more summery for.

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Included were some amazing items, but the ones that caught my eye were:

A dessert was defintely in order. As I’m just not that creative, I had to enlist some help from renowed Houston Chef Austin Simmons for some creative inspiration. What we came up with, for these delectable French ingredients, what nothing short of a memorable close to a long summer, with fresh tastes, fruits, and a crisp cool send off.

First on the bench, a sorbet…

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A Wild Strawberry Sparkling Lemonade Sorbet, to be exact…

To pair, an Apricot, Almond, Coconut Milk Broth

And for an accent, crushed violet and anise mint

How does that sound??

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What it sounded like to me was summer!

  • Wild Strawberry Sparkling Lemonade Sorbet

  • Apricot/Almond/Coconut Broth

  • Lavender Chantilly Cream

  • Textural Violet/Anise Mints

  • Wild Strawberry Coulis

  • Fresh Local Mint

These ingredients, direct from France were incredible, particulary the Violet and Anise mints. Long lasting and the addition of a single anise see in each one was unusual but welcome. Definietly an interesting treat.

The dessert as a whole was fantastic — summery, crisp, minty, and smooth. The addition of coconut milk to the broth added a layer of succulent fat that kept the taste of the sorbet lingering. I’ll definitely have to make this again… or maybe just go to France.

French Pastries, Texas Hospitality

With family owned places, there's a story behind every dish. Isn't that what makes it great? Your grandmother has a 100 year old lasagna recipe, your second uncle can make the best pancakes in the world, or, in the case of Levure Bakery and Patisserie, a family recipe for brownies got the ball rolling.

Now, Levure Bakery & Patisserie is serving up some of the best pastries in Houston, including croissants, pain au chocolat, bearclaws, and a ton of rotating varieties of other french pastries. Their croissants can easily be put up against some of the finest ones I've ever had, and the Owner and staff put forth the effort everyday to make things better. Willing to take constructive feedback, menu items, including breakfast, brunch, and now dinner, are constantly finding new dishes and new ways of thinking outside the (pastry) box. 

Something new is coming, though. While there has been a selection of sandwiches on the brunch/lunch menu, some interesting new items are coming. Today, I got to sample a new offering: Duck Confit sandwich, topped with papaya spread, bread and butter pickles, mayo, arugula and tomatoes, on a deceptively soft and crusty baguette-style bread. Some additional sandwiches are coming too. Not being revealed just yet, I'm fairly confident that they will be well thought out and well constructed. 

If you're in The Woodlands, stop by and try these guys out. You'll be surprised that this northern suburb of Houston, that frankly takes alot of flack, is putting out some of the best pastries you've ever had. Being family and locally owned, focused on respecting the food and ingredients, and making the best that they can, this small bistro/bakery is the kind of place I love to support and frequent. Simple, thoughtful food made with care by people who care