A centuries-old breakfast dish that combines eggs, bread and syrup will be all the rage in Amherst between March 28 and April 4 when the town celebrates French Toast Fest.
“When your town has an egg factory, a bread factory and the community is surrounded by sugar woods, it only makes sense to bring those ingredients together to celebrate one of the world’s most popular dishes,” Amherst Business Development Officer Rebecca Taylor said.
“We’ve got seven local chefs from seven local restaurants who have developed specialty French Toast recipes that they will add to their menus during the festival. We encourage people to take advantage of this culinary delight by visiting as many of the restaurants as they can."
The participating restaurants are Breakfast at Brittney’s, Art of Eating Deli, The Old Warehouse Café, Fathers Food Emporium, Birkinshaw’s Tea Room, Savoie Kitchen and Bliss Crystal Café.
Included in the festival is a French Toast cooking class that will be held at Simply for Life at 11 a.m. on March 30. Later in the day, the Kilted Chef Alain Bosse will put on a lively demonstration that is all about French Toast between 4-6 p.m. at Savoie Kitchen. Tickets for this event are $5 plus service charge and HST.
A short film created by Halifax filmmakers One Eyed Bear Productions that promotes French Toast Fest has sparked a great deal of interest in the event. In the first 12 hours it was on YouTube, more than 1,500 people viewed the film, which can be seen on YouTube.
According to the Neatorama, Breakfast Shoppe and NDTV websites French Toast was the creation of an Albany, N.Y., innkeeper named Joseph French. The sites state French was the first to combine eggs and bread to make the tasty breakfast, but when he advertised his new dish, he called it French Toast instead of French’s toast because he had a limited knowledge of grammar and failed to use the apostrophe.
The websites urge caution in believing this “legend” as there are records going back centuries that refer to meals made from bread soaked in eggs or milk. One of them is the Apicius, a collection of recipes from the early 5th century AD. It notes the dish existed during the days of the Roman Empire.
The websites also note that during the 15th century, the dish – known as “pain perdu” – was a culinary rage in the court of King Henry V of England. Pain perdu is what the French call French Toast today.
According to the Wonderopolis website pain perdu means lost bread, and it was called lost bread because people originally made French Toast from stale bread in order to make use of bread that would otherwise have been thrown away.
The Breakfast Shoppe’s website says the phrase French Toast first appeared in print in the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink in 1871. It also says the meal made from combining eggs and milk has several different names around the world including German toast, eggy bread, French-fried bread, gypsy toast, poor knights of Windsor, Spanish toast and nun’s toast.