A celebration of a centuries-old dish that combines eggs, bread and syrup is returning to Amherst as the town once again celebrates its annual French Toast Fest.
This year nine chefs from nine local restaurants will be tantalizing taste buds with gourmet French toast dishes during the festival that is being hosted by the Town of Amherst, Maritime Pride Eggs and Wonderbrand Inc., formerly Weston Bakery, and runs from March 28, 2023, to April 2, 2023.
Abstract Coffee, Art of Eat Deli and Catering, Bliss Crystal Café, Breakfast at Brittney’s, Portlander Jamaican Restaurant, Perk Me Up Café, The Old Warehouse Café and Lounge, Teazer’s Pub and Eatery and The Elm Tree Tavern will all be creating mouth-watering dishes ranging from traditional French toast to French-toast-inspired baked good or lattes.
For instance, Abstract Coffee is preparing a French Toast Muffin, which are pieces of French toast baked together and topped with maple cream cheese, drizzled with maple syrup and garnished with chocolate, while the Art of Eating Deli and Catering will be serving bacon, eggs and a Swiss waffle sandwich served with maple syrup.
If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, then perhaps a French Toast Burger served on a French toast bun, with a side of French fries and maple syrup that is created by Teazer’s Pub and Eatery or French toast with homemade raisin bread served with maple syrup and topped with vanilla bean ice cream made by Breakfast at Britteney’s will.
If those don’t tempt your tastebuds, then try the French toast topped with fruit and special in-house coconut sauce made by Portlander Jamaican Restaurant surely will.
To find out what the other restaurants are serving, you will have to visit them.
As they have in past years, Maritime Pride Eggs and Wonderbrand Inc. are ensuring local elementary students at West Highland Elementary and Cumberland North Academy have the opportunity to dine on French toast during the festival. They have donated the eggs and bread the schools will used to create their French toast meals.
“We are so fortunate to have amazing businesses here in Amherst whose generosity is allowing our local schools to participate in French Toast Fest,” Sharon Bristol, director of Community Living said.
“We are equally fortunate to have nine great restaurants, two more than last year, who are participating in the festival. I am looking forward to tasting the French toast creations.”
Amherst first began celebrating French Toast Fest four years ago.
“Amherst is home to an egg factory and a bread factory. We are also surrounded by sugar woods. So, it was only natural that we’d hold an even that celebrates one of the world’s most popular dishes,” Bristol said.
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 say 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 also 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 noted 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.
For more information on the festival, please go to https://amherst.ca/french-toast-fest.html.