The conventional image of a croque monsieur is a béchamel-soaked ham sandwich, baked till the blanketing cheese (say a Gruyere) bubbles over.
But it took a trip to Calgary Belgian baker Manuel Latruwe for me to realize the essence of this caloric confection is the bread. Which in this case is a wonderfully soft, house-made brioche, offsetting the sandwich’s crunch (croque) and adding a layer of richness to this French standard.
Manuel Latruwe has long been known for its outstanding baked goods like delicate croissants, sourdough breads, tarts and macarons. But its little café also produces made-to-order treats like baguette sandwiches (how about house-cured salmon and boiled egg?), Belgian waffles, quiches and thin-crust pizzas.
Various croque sandwiches—some with an egg inside or on top—are served at breakfast and lunch, with a side of sautéed potatoes in the morning and a little salad at midday. Ranging in price from $12 to $14, they ain’t cheap. But the quality of ingredients and preparation make them well worth a decadent splurge.
1331 1 Street SE, Calgary, Alberta
Monday to Wednesday and Saturday 7:30 am-5 pm, Thursday-Friday 7:30 am-6 pm