A centuries-old breakfast dish that combines eggs, bread and syrup will be all the rage in the Town of Amherst between March 26 and April 2 when the town celebrates its fourth annual French Toast Fest.
Seven chefs from seven Amherst restaurants will be preparing seven different gourmet French toast dishes that will tantalize the taste buds during the eight-day festival.
Abstract Coffee, Art of Eating Deli & Catering, Birkinshaw’s, Bliss Crystal Café, Breakfast at Brittney’s, Portlander Jamaican Restaurant and theOld Warehouse Café, will be creating the dishes for the festival that is being hosted by the Town of Amherst and sponsored by Maritime Pride Eggs and Wonderbrand Inc.
In addition to gourmet French toast dishes, some of the restaurants will have also have French toast-inspired baked goods or lattes.
Maritime Pride Eggs and Wonderbrand Inc. are making sure local elementary students at West Highlands Elementary, Spring Street Academy and Cumberland North Academy have the opportunity to dine on French toast during the festival. They have donated eggs and bread to the schools so they can create the meal.
“We are so pleased to work with amazing businesses here in Amherst whose generosity allows our local schools to participate in celebrating French Toast Fest,” Allison Watson, a culture, events and marketing co-ordinator with the Town of Amherst, said.
“We are equally excited that we have seven great restaurants participating in the festival providing gourmet delights. I can hardly wait to taste their French toast creations.”
Home to an egg factory, bread bakery and surrounded by sugar woods, it only makes sense that Amherst takes the time each year to celebrate one of the world’s most popular dishes.
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, poor knights of Windsor and Spanish toast.