A reader, and new Charlotte resident, writes looking for crème fraîche and locally produced clotted cream. Although crème fraîche is somewhat difficult to find across the U.S., Charlotte has had a constant source for it for at least 25 years. Crème fraîche is what becomes of fresh cream if set aside and natural lactic acid is allowed to develop.
This cream is thicker than sour cream and has a hazelnut under note. Chefs use crème fraîche dollops with caviar and pureed soups, or in sauces since it will not separate at high temperatures or when cooked with wine. Renowned American chef Thomas Keller (The French Laundry and Per Se) serves salmon tartare with a sweet red onion crème fraîche. Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery crème fraîche is sold at the Fresh Market in 8-ounce containers ($4.99).
Clotted cream, on the other hand, is made via a very slow process which includes letting unpasteurized cream stand, then is heated, and finally cooled. Southwestern England is known for thick and heavy spreadable clotted cream, a traditional accompaniment to scones. English Double Devon Cream is sold in six-ounce bottles at both The Fresh Market (4223 Providence Road; 7625 Pineville-Matthews Road; 20623 Torrence Chapel Road in Cornelius) and Harris Teeter ($7.99 and $6.69 respectively).
I haven't seen locally produced clotted cream. Clotted cream may be made at home but requires raw milk, which is illegal for human consumption in North Carolina but available in South Carolina.
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