DINER: “Au Petit Chavignol” Closes After Four Delicious Years At 843 East Hastings

by Andrew Morrison | I’m very sad to report that Au Petit Chavignol has closed. I just got a call from Joe Chaput, who summed up the decision to shutter with characteristic frankness, “We had a lot of great customers, just not enough of them.” A message on their website reads:

We would like to let you know that we’ve made the decision to close Au Petit Chavignol effective immediately. After four wonderful years, we would like to thank our guests for their amazing support.

We feel that the time is right to move on to new opportunities and growth within les amis du FROMAGE, and we look forward to sharing more details with you at a later date.

Alice, Allison, Joe and all of our wonderful staff thank you for your patronage.

The little charcuterie, cheese and wine bar next door to Les Amis du Fromage at 843 East Hastings made one of the best cheeseburgers in town (my personal favourite), superb frites, gooey Croques, excellent fondues and raclettes, and other cheesy things besides. The restaurant is umbilically tied to Les Amis (Au Petit’s kitchen is Les Amis’ production kitchen), so I reckon there’s a fair chance that it will either return or give rise to something different. In the meantime, however, it will be missed.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Hastings’ Au Petit Chavignol Needs An Experienced Line Cook

Au Petit Chavignol | 845 East Hastings St. (between Hawkes & Campbell) | 604-255-4218 | www.aupetitchavignol.com

The GOODS from Au Petit Chavignol

Vancouver, BC | Au Petit Chavignol is hiring a cheese loving, experience line cook. Five shifts per week, all evenings, all closing shifts. If you are an experienced, strong line cook with clean work habits, and you would like to work in a professional cooking environment, we’d like to hear from you. Find out more about our company at Au Petit Chavignol. Please send your resume to joe@buycheese.com. Read more

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Au Petit Chavignol

February 27, 2013 

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Au Petit Chavignol | Place/Restaurant (closed) | An eatery on East Hastings that closed in April, 2013. “Au Petit” was run by the same folks who gave us Les Amis Du Fromage. While it lasted, it served fantastic burgers and killer fondues alongside Spanish hams and a well curated wine list. We miss it dearly.

Usage | “Damn, I really could go for one of those burgers at Au Petit Chavignol right about now!”

explore-the-lexicon

BEYOND CHEDDAR: On “Abbaye de Tamie”, The French Cheese With A 900 Year History

August 30, 2012 

by Joe Chaput | The cheese is made exclusively by the monks at the Cistercian Abbaye Notre-Dame de Tamié, which is located in Albertville, in the region of Savoie, France. Founded in 1132 by Peter of Tarentaise, it’s a picturesque and serene place; if there was ever a reason you’d ever run away to be a monk, the location would be a likely candidate. The monastery is financed by the monks who work the land and gather the milk of surrounding farms to make their famed Tamié cheese, which they’ve been doing so since the 12th century. It’s a fine example of making one product only, and putting your heart and soul into it.

The first thing you notice about Abbaye de Tamie is its smell. The cheese is many things, but it’s not shy. Made from unpasteurized milk, the flavour and aromas are reminiscent of Reblochon, but perhaps even stronger. When you open the package, you get a whiff of hay and cellar that smacks you in the face. During the ripening process, it is washed regularly with brine. It is then aged in the vaulted cellars of the Abbey to maintain its crust and to encourage the development of mould. The texture is supple and creamy, yet slightly firmer than Reblochon, and the taste is a notch fuller, with more of that cream and hay. Common opinion pairs it with Beaujolais. However, we were fortunate enough to have enjoyed it with an aged Bordeaux. Keep it simple: choose a not too tannic red and you’ll be good.

The cheese comes to us in two sizes; 600 gr and 1.5 kg. les amis du FROMAGE currently stocks the larger wheel, priced at $6.99/100gr.

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Joe Chaput is the Cheese Editor of Scout Magazine (because of course we have a Cheese Editor!), the co-proprietor and fromager of East Hastings’ Au Petit Chavignol, a member of the Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie du Saint-Uguzon and a Red Seal-certified cook. His Scout column – Beyond Cheddar – deals with all things stinky, oozy, sharp, soft, creamy and delicious.

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OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Hastings’ Au Petit Chavignol Is Looking For A New Head Chef

Au Petit Chavignol | 845 East Hastings St. (between Hawkes & Campbell) | 604-255-4218 | www.aupetitchavignol.com

The GOODS from Au Petit Chavignol

Vancouver, BC | Au Petit Chavignol is looking for a Head Chef to oversee daily operations of the restaurant. We are a small 36 restaurant located on East Hastings Street in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood. We offer a carefully chosen selection of imported and local artisan cheese and charcuterie along with fondue, raclette and other seasonal and familiar specialties. We utilize local ingredients from the SOLEfood Farm (supporting United We Can) wherever possible. Learn more after the jump… Read more

GOODS: Strathcona’s “Au Petit Chavignol” Seeking Experienced General Manager

January 3, 2012 

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Au Petit Chavignol | 845 East Hastings St. (between Hawkes & Campbell) | 604-255-4218 | www.aupetitchavignol.com

The GOODS from Au Petit Chavignol

Vancouver, BC | Au Petit Chavignol has an immediate opening for a wine savvy General Manager to oversee daily operations of the restaurant. You should have a love of cheese, previous restaurant management experience, ISG / WSET Diploma or equivalent training, a familiarity with staff scheduling, excellent organizational skills, previous experience with beverage costing, control, management, aommitment to quality, and an eye for details. Check after the jump for the job description and details about the restaurant… Read more

DINER: The 1st Annual “FeastVan” Dining Fest Gearing Up To Help Local Kids In Need

Here’s an early heads-up on FeastVan, a brand new, 17 day dining event involving many of the best restaurants of East Vancouver. Help us spread the word far and wide, because from January 20th to February 5th, local foodies and visitors will be invited to enjoy a selection of specially priced three-course meals from Au Petit Chavignol, Red Wagon, Campagnolo Roma, Cafeteria, El Barrio, Les Faux Bourgeois, Two Chefs & A Table, Founders’ Lounge at The Cultch, Fray, and The Waldorf Hotel. We haven’t seen the menus yet, but that sure looks like a tasty line-up!

The participating restaurants will donate $1 to the Vancouver Inner-City Backpack Food Program for every special meal sold. The awesome organisation, which serves the children of Strathcona and the DTES, aims to “bridge the weekend gaps when school food programs are not running” (and is pretty much a breeding ground for saints). Also signed on are the good folks at R&B Brewing, who will be donating a percentage of every delicious keg of East Side Bitter sold during the event. Les Amis du Fromage will do the same for every sale of its kickass macaroni and cheese.

If you own or run a restaurant in East Van and would like to get on board to help out, email Joe Chaput at joe [at] buycheese [dotcom] and he’ll tell you everything that you need to know. Scout will be keeping you abreast of all things FeastVan in the run up to January 2oth, but in the short term, we kindly ask that you spread this initial good word and click after the jump for the rapid-fire FAQ… Read more

BEYOND CHEDDAR: On The Most Delicious Medical Instrument In All Of Switzerland…

November 14, 2011 

by Joe Chaput | It is said that the small but highly efficient emergency medical services of the Swiss canton of Glarus include in their medics’ toolkit a small vial of Schabziger. Whenever a person passes out, the vial is opened below his or her nostrils until he or she wakes up. Failure to respond to the Schabziger treatment is not a good sign.

This is one of those cheeses that customers rarely notice in the cheese cooler. That is unless you’re Swiss, in which case you excitedly exclaim “Green Cheese!” and become a little less homesick. It’s a small (90 gram), cone-shaped, cow’s milk cheese which sits about 5 cm high. Known also as Sap Sago or Swiss Green Cheese, Schabziger has now been exclusively produced by Geska since the year 2000 in Glarus.  The production of Schabziger goes back 1000 years.  It was the first branded product in Switzerland; where in 1463 a law was passed which obliged all cheese producers to conform to certain quality standards and to mark their products with a stamp of origin.

According to the manufacturer’s website, the local population had to pay taxes to the monastery, and this included parting with some of their low-fat, white Glarner cheese. However, because the flavour of this cheese was too insipid for the good ladies of Säckingen, they started to add blue fenugreek, a strongly flavoured herb from the monastery garden that had probably been brought back by crusaders from the Levant. And so the Schabziger cheese was born!

It is still produced using the same principles used a 1000 years ago.  Skimmed cow’s milk from the Glarner mountains is heated to over 90°C. The lactic acid culture is slowly and patiently mixed in and the milk separates into curd, which contains all the protein and whey. The fresh curd releases the whey into flat basins and cools down before undergoing an initial ripening stage in the fermenting vat for a total of 4-12 weeks. The fresh curd is subsequently crushed, mixed with salt and stored for further ripening for eight months in silos. Only then is the costly blue fenugreek added, which gives the Swiss Schabziger its green colour and inimitable taste. Patience well rewarded!

The texture is a bit like a hard ricotta, and the aroma is uniquely pungent. It’s generally not eaten on it’s own, but used in cooking instead, where it is grated over potatoes, spätzle, salads or soup. It is also sometimes mixed with equal parts butter and used as a spread on bread.

$5.75 each, available at les amis du FROMAGE.

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Joe Chaput is the Cheese Editor of Scout Magazine (because of course we have a Cheese Editor!), the co-proprietor and fromager of East Hastings’ Au Petit Chavignol, a member of the Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie du Saint-Uguzon and a Red Seal-certified cook. His by-weekly column – Beyond Cheddar – deals with all things stinky, oozy, sharp, soft, creamy and delicious.

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DINER: “Les Amis Du Fromage” Celebrating 100 Years Of Stilton With Port Pairing Night

September 30, 2011 

It was too soon to include this awesome food event in today’s Scout List, and since we imagine it will sell out before we get around to including it on account of its imminence, we’re giving you a head’s up well in advance. Check it out…

les amis du FROMAGE and Taylor Fladgate and Fonseca Ports invite you to join us as we celebrate the opening of one of Long Clawson’s world record setting 100lb wheels of blue Stilton.The famous dairy is celebrating 100 years of Stilton cheese-making near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England. To commemorate their centenary, we will be serving the Stilton alongside a range of outstanding Port wines from Taylor Fladgate and Fonseca, plus a selection of hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Jenny Shearman of Au Petit Chavignol. Also joining us from the winery offices in Porto, Portugal will be Jorge Ramos, Export Director of The Fladgate Partnership.

It goes down Friday, October 21st at 6:30pm. Get all the details after the jump… Read more

BEYOND CHEDDAR: On The Rouzaire’s Brie-Like “Fougerus” From Ile-de-France

September 12, 2011 

by Joe Chaput | One of the more easily recognized products in our store is the Fougerus; a soft brie-like cheese that is considered part of the Coloummiers family. Robert Rouzaire (of the Fromagerie Rouzaire) originally produced it in the 1960’s for personal use, but its popularity increased over the years to the point that it has become a huge commercial success. While Rouzaire is not a small company by any means, it is nevertheless family-run and independent, and the cheese is the end result of three generations of cheese0making and affinage.

The name Fougerus comes from the word “Fougere” which is French for “fern”. Because the fern frond is added just prior to packaging, it doesn’t impact the flavour, but it does looks pretty on top. While I’m sure it’s edible, I don’t recommend eating it.

Milk is collected daily from 25 farms in Seine & Marne, part of Ile-de-France, which is east and south of Paris. The herd is composed of around 900 Prim Holstein cattle. Natural grazing in summer and winter feeding of farm-produced hay is encouraged. All farmers are members of the Good Production Practices Charter. It takes 6 litres of milk to make one 750 gram wheel of Fougerus. Everything is done by hand, including cutting the curd, ladling the curd into the moulds, turning, flipping, and salting. After production, the cheeses are then ripened in their old underground cellars in Tournan en Brie.

The outside of the cheese has a white bloomy rind, and is distinguished by the sole fern on top. The interior is straw coloured. The pate is firmer when young, and runny when fully ripe. I personally like it when it still has that slight band of chalkiness in the center. Fougerus has earthy, almost vegetal aromas. The flavour is also vegetal, with hints of mushrooms when younger, and leaning towards turnip or cauliflower when riper. You may find it a bit saltier than other brie, with a lingering sharpness on the finish.

Fougerus is $4.50 per 100 grams, and is only sold by the quarter wheel. Enjoy it with a full-bodied chardonnay or pinot noir.

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Joe Chaput is the Cheese Editor of Scout Magazine (because of course we have a Cheese Editor!), the co-proprietor and fromager of East Hastings’ Au Petit Chavignol, a member of the Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie du Saint-Uguzon and a Red Seal-certified cook. His by-weekly column – Beyond Cheddar – deals with all things stinky, oozy, sharp, soft, creamy and delicious.

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Awesome Thing We Ate #848: The Very Best Damn Cheeseburger Available In Vancouver

Double smoked bacon Leerdammer cheeseburger with frites | Au Petit Chavignol | $14.50

Didn’t know they had cheeseburgers at Au Petit Chavignol? Neither did I. They’re new, and when Joe Chaput, a member of the Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie du Saint-Uguzon, steps up to take his turn as an alchemist in this regard, you order whatever the hell he comes up with and say thank you. It’s been nearly 24 hours since I wolfed this thing down, and I’m convinced it’s the best currently on offer in Vancouver (think chuck and bacon from Cioffi’s, fresh lettuce and tomato, kaiser from Island City, secret sauce modeled on the one at New York’s famous Shake Shack). The Swiss-like Leerdammer really sets it off, and I’m fixing to have another one tonight, only this time I’ll switch up the cheese to a 3 year old raw milk cheddar from Quebec to see if it can get any better.

EVERY AWESOME THING WE ATE

BEYOND CHEDDAR: On “Le Maréchal”, The Swiss Cheese Made By A 12 Farm Collective

by Joe Chaput | Le Maréchal was a tough guy with a soft heart, and his namesake cheese reflects his robust character. In the big scheme of things, this is a relative newcomer to the cheese world. Produced by the Rapin family in Granges-près-Marnand, Vaud, Switzerland since 1992, it was named after their grandfather Emil Rapin, a 19th century village blacksmith (le maréchal-ferrant).

According to their website, “The cheese maker and the producers of the milk for the cheese are bound by a collective agreement. They set up the Le Maréchal Interprofession Association and drew up specifications intended to guarantee the quality of the milk in a production process which respects the cows as well as nature in general. Thus, each farm must produce a minimum of 80% of its dry fodder. The cows’ diet is supplemented with Omega-3-rich flaxseed flour (up to 250 grams per kilo), especially in winter. These essential fatty acids, good for healthy blood circulation, therefore naturally find their way into Le Maréchal.”

It’s wonderful to see that the 12 dairy farms that produce the milk for La Maréchal have banded together to form a cooperative that is committed to being part of making one cheese and one cheese only.  They’re a great example of doing one thing only, but doing it well.

Le Maréchal is similar in texture to Gruyere; however the wheels are substantially smaller.  Because of this smaller size, the cheeses are aged for 130 days compared to twice as long for a good wheel of gruyere.  During the ripening process the rind is brushed with aromatic herbs. The resulting crust is dark brown and flecked with herbs. The paste is a light golden color and is smooth with few, if any holes.  It has a nutty, herbal aroma that is reminiscent of rich milk. The flavours are again milky and herbaceous, with a slight sweetness.

Enjoy La Maréchal with a glass of Beaujolais, merlot, or a more hoppy styled beer. You can find le Maréchal at les amis du FROMAGE for $3.99/100 grams.

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Joe Chaput is the Cheese Editor of Scout Magazine (because of course we have a Cheese Editor!), the co-proprietor and fromager of East Hastings’ Au Petit Chavignol, a member of the Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie du Saint-Uguzon and a Red Seal-certified cook. His by-weekly column – Beyond Cheddar – deals with all things stinky, oozy, sharp, soft, creamy and delicious.

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BEYOND CHEDDAR: On The Cheese That Readily Converts Into A Mean Battle Station

by Joe Chaput | So you’re the King of France. You’re powerful and you can do anything. What do you do then? Have a French version of a Dutch cheese made for you! At least that’s what King Louis XIV did (or so the story goes). He even had it coloured orange to make it distinct from Edam. He did not order it to be made in the likeness of the Death Star. I did that.

Now commonly known as Mimolette, it was originally called Boule de Lille. Lille is the Dutch-influenced town where it originated in Northern France (in the area of Flanders). This favourite of Charles de Gaulle is made from pasteurized cows milk and weighs in at around 3 kilos. It can be found in varying degrees of age. When young (3-6 months of age), it is very mild, in which case you may be more inclined to serve it for breakfast, or in a sandwich. With age it transforms into a dry, crumbly, wine-friendly cheese. You may find it aged in ranges of 6, 9, 12, 18 or even 24 months (vielle-cassant).

It’s easily recognized for its pitted crust, which is not far off from some sort of cratered moon. This is a result of cheese mites that are introduced during the aging process. The mites feed on the outside crust, and the holes they create allow for air flow and flavour development as the cheese ages. During the aging process, the crust is brushed and the resulting dust from the holes is brushed off. I don’t know anyone who eats the crust of Mimolette, so I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Due to recent import regulations into Canada, the Mimolette we receive of late has had its crust ground down, and the exterior covered in black wax. Same cheese, regulating officials satisfied.

The aromas are not overly strong, and the taste is not in your face. However, when you try a really old Mimolette – like one that is aged 24 months – you can see why it’s so popular. The texture is hard and crumbly, not unlike a very old Dutch Gouda. As cheesemongers, we have to put our weight into it sometimes to cut a proper slice. The taste is nutty with hints of buttery sweet caramel. The finish is a lengthy one. On the palate, the texture is a bit like fudge.

Mimolette can be enjoyed with red wines, sherry, port and even bubbly. In the kitchen, you can shave it into salads. Its bright orange color might be just the thing your dish was missing.

You can find the 24 month aged version at Les Amis du Fromage for $8.50/100 grams.

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Joe Chaput is the Cheese Editor of Scout Magazine (because of course we have a Cheese Editor!), the co-proprietor and fromager of East Hastings’ Au Petit Chavignol, a member of the Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie du Saint-Uguzon and a Red Seal-certified cook. His by-weekly column – Beyond Cheddar – deals with all things stinky, oozy, sharp, soft, creamy and delicious.

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