As the saying goes, “In like a lion, out like a lamb”. We got the lion part with late season snow storms and gusting winds, and warmer more spring like weather is on its way. Before we know it the front window of the cafe will be open, our outdoor seating will be set up, flowers and herbs will be growing in the garden and we will have a rooftop bee hive.
There is a lot happening this month with special dinners, food festivals, St. Patrick’s day and Easter. Be sure to check March Happenings for more information about dinners, events and special orders for the holidays.
We are really excited to be nominated for the Tribune Dining Award for best bakery. Please vote for us (daily until March 15th) and help us win!
March 6th WTTW Downton Abbey Finale at Chicago History Museum – enjoy Floriole shortbread cookies before a screening of the show.
March 13th Don’t forget to Spring Forward and change your clocks
March 14th Monday Supper at Floriole with Floriole bread baker Alexander Roman
Boston brown bread is back for March and April. Check out this article for the Chicago Tribune from last year to learn a little more about this product. We will offer it as an option for toast in the morning, as part of our bread basket or you can take a whole loaf home.
Hot cross buns – two ways
Traditional hot cross buns will be available from March 15th through the end of the month. Order by the half dozen for Easter by March 23rd.
The pastry team has brought back the hot cross macaron for the Easter season. It has a cinnamon and cardamom perfumed shell, earl grey prune compote and cream cheese butter cream.
March savory salads:
sprouted lentil, kale and slow roasted root vegetable with bacon mustard vinaigrette
cranberry beans with winter citrus
deviled eggs with chives and smoked paprika
white bean hummus with roasted cherry tomatoes
Le Coin de Mathieu
We are transforming our house into a petting zoo (sort of). In addition to our dog, two fish and thousands of worms, we now have two chicks.
As I write this, the chicks are sleeping in their box bathed in the warmth of a heating lamp. They’ve been eating, drinking, pooping and chirping. I’m not a bird expert but that sounds like they’re doing well. Stella has named them Poulette and Twitter (renamed Chickpeas for an hour). She has the bad habit of renaming her pets on an ongoing basis (her fish have been named a dozen times). I am worried about their mental health, not knowing who they are, so Stella has to choose their final name today.
Our dog, Lucky, is intrigued, maybe too much (he also likes to look at the fish). In 4 weeks, weather permitting, they will move outside. That’s how long I have to build their chicken coop. In 6 months, we hope to have the first eggs.
In 5-6 years, coq au vin!
An exciting start to the year and a leap towards spring.
What an exciting start to the year! In late January, Sandra received the Jean Banchet Pastry Chef of the Year award. The Banchet awards are often referred to as “Chicago’s food Oscars” and Sandra and the Floriole team are thrilled to be honored with an award.
February may be the shortest month of the year but it is jam packed with special days. We have Groundhog Day on the 2nd when the arrival of spring will be forecast based on a rodent seeing his shadow or not. Then on February 8th we ring in the Chinese New Year, the year of the monkey. The next day is Mardi Gras followed by Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lenten season. Please don’t give up pastries for 40 days! Valentine’s Day is the 14th and then we have Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays and President’s Day. The very last day of the month is Leap Day.
With all of these holidays, we are busy planning special pastries and lunch specials. The year of the monkey makes us want to make banana cream pie, Ash Wednesday and the following Fridays will feature a smoked trout tartine, and expect to see tart cherry galettes in honor of Lincoln.
Valentine’s Day is a great day to be a baker because everyone wants a little something sweet. For the occasion, and all through February, we have crafted an extra special dessert made of milk chocolate mousse filled with passion fruit caramel and beautifully decorated with passion cream.
Need flowers for your sweetheart? Don’t fret because we will have beautiful bouquets crafted by the flower geniuses at Fox Glove Studio. They will be $35 each
This month we have the following daily salads:
white bean hummus garnished with dukkah, served with crudite and bread
shaved celery, radish and date
wheat berry, balsamic figs, kale and walnuts
winter greens, citrus an chickpeas
The savory team is working on a series of special hot sandwiches. Expect to see a meatball sandwich, braised beef and more on rotation throughout the month. On Ash Wednesday and all Fridays until Easter, we will feature a smoked trout tartine (pictured below).
Crust and Crumb
We will now be offering semolina and seeded sourdough on a daily basis. These breads have become so popular that we need to make them everyday. And starting this month, you can order a breadbasket that will feature a variety of our breads with butter and jam. It’s great for sharing and a perfect way to taste all the breads we have to offer.
Did you know that coffee is seasonal? If you think about it it makes a lot of sense. Like any other produce, coffee is ready to be harvested at the end of the season and best consumed shortly there after. The season differs depending on where in the world the coffee is grown. Right now we are featuring Intelligentsia Ruvumbu which tastes like apricot jam and butterscotch with the bright acidity of cranberries (to pair, we recommend our seasonal fruit scone) and Ljulu Lipati which has a unique flavor profile of lemongrass and persimmon with turbinado sugar sweetness which pairs wonderfully with our passionfruit tart.
Le Coin de Mathieu
I’m freaking out! I’m going to turn 40 this year! (please send presents to Mathieu Holl c/o Floriole on or even before July 11th).
Where’s my Jaguar? my rolex? my boat?? I told Sandra I needed a younger wife, she replied very matter of fact: “Why? You can’t even keep up with me. If anything, I need a younger husband”… Touché!
Geez, I don’t even have a bucket list!!!
I drive an old prius and Sandra drives a red car (albeit a small suv but still!).
When we started the bakery, people would think I was the baker (have you heard my thick accent ?)… not anymore, especially when Sandra keeps on winning awards:http://grandchefsgala.com/chicago – don’t bother! I’m not in the picture, I’m behind the curtain on the left…
What?? Jealous? Me? Pleeeeeeaaaaaaaasssssseeeee! I taught her everything she knows!
Oh well… Like they say: “Behind every successful woman is a man who says, “I knew she could do it!”
We made it through another holiday season and are looking forward to the less hectic month of January. This is our time to make repairs, plan for the year, and test new recipes and ideas. Speaking of repairs . . . we will be closing the cafe at 3pm on Sunday, January 10th and will remain closed until Saturday, January 16th. Our kitchen flooring is in dire need of repair and the dining area will be getting a fresh coat of paint. We are truly sorry for any inconvenience this will cause.
During the closure we will be returning to our old stomping grounds, Kitchen Chicago, where we will continue to bake for all of our wholesale partners. If you have a hankering for a ham & cheese croissant or scone, there are coffee shops and cafes throughout the city that will have Floriole pastries.
Galette Des Rois
Traditional galette des rois. Photo credit: Rachel Brown
I first tried a galette des rois when I was living in Paris. As soon as the holidays ended I spotted a new, and rather plain looking pastry that was displayed in every patisserie. Not one to be left out, I marched into my corner patisserie to sample a round golden brown galette des rois. The cashier was kind enough to explain that galettes are to be cut and shared in celebration of Epiphany. As she slid the galette into a bag she handed me a paper crown and advised that baked into each galette is a feve or trinket and the lucky recipient of the slice containing it, is crowned the king or queen. I was smitten with the simplicity of flakey buttery puff pastry and rich almond cream and was happy to find out that most bakeries continued to make galettes throughout the month of January.
At Floriole we will have galette des rois throughout January. There are two versions: Traditional with almond cream and non-traditional with pistachio cream and lemon. The “feves” are super cute and come from France. You will have to get a galette to see what they are.
Eat more veggies and other resolutions . . .
Something I always hear around this time of year is, “I can’t go to Floriole! I’m on a diet.”. Sure we make butter laden decadent pastries BUT we also have plenty of options that are super healthy.
Carrot Pepita Salad Photo credit: Rachel Brown
The composed salads are always a great option and this month we have some great options:
carrot pepita salad
shaved celery, radish & date
chickpea kale & citrus
Eating more whole grains or avoiding gluten? Here are some options:
steel cut oatmeal topped with sliced apples and toasted almonds
buckwheat scones (not made with wheat flour)
cracked rye or seeded sourdough
chocolate hazelnut cookie (not made with wheat flour, no refined sugar, vegan)
peanut butter and jelly cookies (not made with wheat flour)
flourless chocolate cake
On the coffee bar, you can substitute soy milk or our house made almond milk in any drink.
New Year’s resolutions for healthy eating are great but we like to think that even the pastries we make are not so bad for you. There are no preservatives, dough conditioners or ground up yoga mats in our food. We choose the ingredients we use carefully from organic sugar and flour to locally grown apples and cranberries. We hope our food is satisfying and think a little goes a long way.
Jean Banchet Awards & Gala
Floriole is proud that Sandra was nominated for the Jean Banchet Pastry Chef of the Year award! The awards ceremony will take place on January 17th and the annual Grand Chefs Gala is January 29th at Navy Pier. Over 50 of Chicago’s finest chefs and mixologists will gather to personally prepare signature dishes, desserts and cocktails that are as innovative, artistic and meticulously created as this great city. The event will also feature dinner, live music, dancing, and premium auctions that include once-in-a-lifetime culinary experiences. Save the Date because it will truly be an exciting evening at Chicago’s legendary Navy Pier to help support CFF’s search for a cure! Ticket information here.
Le Coin de Mathieu
Mona Lisa by Brett Friel
Imagine a painting. A Leonardo Da Vinci painting. He likely painted a face on it. Was not happy with it. Painted another one on top. … Until he created a master piece.
Well this newsletter has some resemblance: not to the Da Vinci, nor the master piece parts, but it’s the 4th time I have written those first few lines. As I’m writing them, my mind is vacillating between erasing and restarting or continuing. Each word is a battle won, but the war only ends with the final punctuation.
Geez, I just started a new paragraph and this might be a bridge too far. The supreme being of the newsletter (Sandra) has not blessed this yet. Will she drop an emphatic No / Axe on those few lines or let them live. I do not know.
The deadline to get your orders in for Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. If you want to guarantee that you have Floriole bread, pies or other sweets on your holiday table, you will have to place your order by Sunday November 22nd at 5pm. Place your order here, call 773-883-1313 or come into the store.
Big news! Nominations for 2015 Jean Banchet Awards — the Chicago area food Oscars – announced . . . and Sandra Holl is a nominee for pastry chef of the year. The awards ceremony will be held January 17th and winners in each category will be chosen through a vote of restaurant industry professionals. Check out the article from the Chicago Tribune here.
What’s in season?
This is the time of year to enjoy the many members of the brassica family. Members include kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli to name a few. They are best in the cool weather of Autumn because their flavor becomes sweeter with a light frost.
Also in season are winter squash, beets, radish, cranberries, apples, pears, . . . You will be sure to find many of these fruits and vegetables on our menu this month.
shaved Brussels sprout and kale salad with a meyer lemon vinaigrette and sarvecchio cheese
saffron couscous, almonds, herbs, pomegranate seeds and apple
Orders placed by November 15th get a big high-five from a staff member and a little something extra added to their order.
please select a pickup date and time:
Tuesday 11/24, 3pm-5pm
Wednesday 11/25, 10am-2pm
Wednesday 11/25, 2pm-5pm
Floriole Pumpkin Pie $28
9” serves 8
Butternut squash clafoutis custard baked in gingerbread crust
Apple Pie $28
9” serves 8
Three varieties of local apples with warming spices baked in a flakey rye crust
10” serves 8
Apples and raspberries with brown butter custard in our famous flakey crust
Pecan Pie $38
9” serves 8
Missouri pecans suspended in a sweet and salty honey custard
Pumpkin Tea Cake $9
Baby loaf serves 6
Lightly spiced and packed with pumpkin flavor, this tea cake makes a great breakfast or light dessert with a dollop of whipped cream
Pumpkin Sticky Buns $25.50
Sweet breakfast bun filled with pumpkin and topped with cream cheese frosting
Cheddar and Herb Quiche $40.00
9” serves 8-10
The perfect Turkey alternative for your vegetarian guests or a hearty breakfast for everyone
A crisp exterior and light open crumb with a little acidity from the addition of a sourdough starter
Large House Sourdough $10.00
A French sourdough – not sour but sweet and nutty from whole wheat and rye flours. A perfect crusty addition to your Thanksgiving table.
Dinner Rolls $10.00
Buttery brioche rolls baked golden brown. Perfect for leftover turkey sandwiches or as an accompaniment to your feast.
A naturally leavened semolina bread, with a tender crumb, and distinct flavor. Slightly sour notes counter the rich nuttiness of the crust. A versatile bread that can stand alone, or eaten with everything.
I have a pretty good excuse for sending out October’s updates a little later than planned. . . I have been in Brooklyn at the Valrhona school of chocolate taking a class about the traditional French Christmas cake, buche de noel. I don’t want to give too much away before our holiday menu comes out after Thanksgiving, but be assured we will be making some beautiful buche de noel this season!
Now back to the present. October is here and we are embracing autumn with menu changes that reflect the return of cooler temperatures and shorter days. Get ready for piping hot soups, stick to your ribs steel cut oatmeal porridge, apples, chestnut, pumpkin, quince and warming spices.
Looking for something fun to do Friday night? Join us for the Pilot Light Feed Your Mind annual fundraiser! Get more information and tickets here.
The BAD is back from vacation
With the return of October, we happily welcome the venerable BAD back from a two-month vacation. No changes have been made to this loved Floriole sandwich: crisp Nueske’s bacon, peppery arugula dressed with lemon and olive oil, fresh goat cheese and date almond spread on yeasted cornbread.
Salads are vibrant exciting this month! Kabocha squash hummus, celery root and apple remoulade, butternut squash with kale and pomegranate seeds, and roasted beet and bulgur.
Trick or Treat
We have some new treats in the case this month and many favorites from years past are back for the season.
An old favorite, Pumpkin sticky buns will be around until the end of November. We smear our butter flakey dough with pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar then roll it up and bake it before topping it with cream cheese frosting. These are a staff favorite and are not to be missed!
Spicy gingerbread is back in ghost, pumpkin, acorn and leaf shapes. These dry crunchy cookies pack a spicy punch that can be addictive.
Join us for the Pilot Light Feed Your Mind annual fundraiser! Get more information and tickets here.
We took a little newsletter vacation but we are back and ready to roll. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the summer and is ready to get back to the grind. The kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter and before we know it there will be a chill in the air to remind us all that the seasons are changing.
What did we do over the summer?
In July, Emily and I jetted off to Toronto to compete on a cooking show. I hate to be coy but I signed a nondisclosure agreement and can’t tell you much about it until after the show airs. We will be sure to showcase what we baked in the store so you can judge how you think we did in the competition. We will let you know when to tune in to see just how well Emily and I did at “reality” tv.
At the beginning of August, Mathieu and I spoke about the subject “collaborate” at the monthly Creative Mornings gathering. I can’t bring myself to watch the video but feel free to check it out here . . . just don’t tell me if I made a lot of funny faces or said something else silly on camera. We had a great time and it was good challenge for us, two introverts with a fear of public speaking.
September is a funny month because we never really know what produce we will have. If it stays warm we will have lots of tomatoes and other produce and those crops will seem seasonally correct. If it cool off we will be in for winter squash, brassicas and apples. We are banking on it staying warm and will continue to celebrate the tomato and other nightshades until they disappear.
Spiced eggplant dip with house bread
Quinoa, melon, feta and mint
Potato, corn and roasted peppers
Heirloom tomato plates
Cucumber and tomato panzanella
Other changes from the savory station
We will be switching back to hot porridge sometime this month starting with organic steel cut oats cooked with seedling apple cider, topped with slow cooked apples, toasted walnuts and maple syrup.
The turkey sandwich is getting a seasonal update with house made peperonata and goat cheese on our house focaccia.
Have you tried our croissants lately?
I don’t think our croissants have ever been so good. We have upgraded the chocolate we are putting in our pain au chocolat to Valrhona Tainori – a lovely fruity dark chocolate. The ham and cheese croissants have changed shape and are now topped with a mix of seeds and spices. Who know that such a simple change could make such a difference? Also new in house, we are making a specialty croissant – the first was vanilla butter laminated and stuffed with bubblegum plum compote. We have a lot of ideas up our sleeves so follow us on instagram to see what is new and exciting.
Shout out to the bread department
Our bread department has been busy kneading and shaping loaves for our wholesale clients on top of all the bread they make for Floriole sandwiches and retail sales. We are proud to be working with several restaurants, coffee shops and retail markets throughout the city. Even when you can’t make it to the bakery in Lincoln Park, you can have a slice of our bread!
Wes, pictured above with Floriole bread baker Alexander, has been milling wheat and rye flour for us since this spring. We are thrilled to be working with him and the people at Pleasant House Bread to have freshly milled flour from Breslin Farm.
And Finally, the moment you have all been waiting for . . . Mathieu’s Coin
Le coin was on summer camp with its big sister: the newsletter.
They’re both back to school. Ready for a new year of excitements.
Le coin had a great summer, it enjoyed the mild weather, frequent outdoor activities, gardening, swimming, made new friends (le cote, le centre, ..)
But le coin got to do what le coin got to do and give its people what they want.
Le coin wants to point out a change that happened to the Ham & Cheese croissant as it is noticeable. Le coin can’t believe it: after 5 years, they are changing the shape of one of their mainstay?! Are they nuts or not ? Well, le coin be darned, the new version is amazing.
Here’s the game of the month:send le coin a haiku about the new croissant, the one selected by le coin will be published in next month newsletter and the winner will receive a $20 gift card.
May marks the beginning of the farmers’ market season. We will be seeing asparagus, rhubarb, green garlic, spinach, pea tendrils, radishes and possibly strawberries by the end of the month. It is an exciting time of year for farmers, bakers and savory cooks alike. With the influx of spring produce the menu will be lightening up. We hope you come in and taste what is new!
Take a peek at our rooftop garden on the second floor and you will see that gardening season is well under way. Sara from Verdura has been hard at work getting our earth boxes ready and seeded with edible flowers, herbs, peas and fava beans. We are hoping for sunshine and warmer weather to keep our plants happy and productive.
What’s happening – a quick peek at this month.
We are always busy around here but this month is super charged with in-house events, holidays, fundraisers and off-site events.
May 10th is Mother’s Day! Bring your mom in for a nice brunch or lunch or order her favorite sweet.
We have a really exciting event in New York with Bob’s Red Mill on May 12th. You can be sure to see lots of pictures of the event and our New York adventure on Instagram.
May 22nd is the Key Ingredient Cook-Off . Get tickets here and come see what we decide to make with coffee.
May24th Sunday Supper at Floriole with Abra Berens, friend and Chef at the soon to open Local Foods.
May 29th One Million Degrees annual Gala. Get tickets here to support this amazing organization that empowers low-income, highly motivated community college students to succeed in school, in work and in life. Floriole will be providing dessert.
Chocolate chip cookies are my least favorite cookie and I can’t think of anything worse than a blondie. This is no April Fools joke! I dislike chocolate chip cookies and have vowed to never sell them from the bakery. Unfortunately for me, my bakers love chocolate chip cookies and thought it would be a funny April Fools Day joke to sell them today. Happy April Fools Day and enjoy the chocolate chip cookies – they won’t be around for long.
Last Day For Easter / Passover Orders
Be sure to place your order today by 5pm so that we can have your items ready for pick-up Saturday or Sunday.
Happy Anniversary to Us!
It is hard to believe that Mathieu and I started Floriole nearly nine years ago at the Green City Market. Our first year in business, I was pregnant with our daughter and we worked our tails off trying to bake enough for each market. We started Floriole with a tent, folding table and pastries that highlighted the bountiful produce of our midwestern farmers. Over the years we have watched our business and daughter grow up together – she gets taller and Floriole hires more employees. Today we have a beautiful brick and mortar storefront in Lincoln Park with an expanded menu and over 30 employees AND we continue to make simple food that uses produce from some of our favorite farmers.
Please join us on April 8th to celebrate 5 years in the store. There will be cake and festivities to mark the occasion.