I recently got to attend a bloggers’ dinner at the back of the wonderfully organized Babeth’s Feast store on Third Avenue between 80th and 81st Streets. Most foodies turn their noses up at frozen foods but as the manager points out, it does not make a difference if you used all the highest qualities to begin with. Many customers have pointed out that high quality frozen food stores are a big trend in France right now and Babeth herself is a Parisian who decided to bring the concept over here (“that other foodie country across the pond”).
A dozen of us food press folks tasted one incredible dish after another. Someone told me that the dishes would even pass muster with the late Julia Child–even the French classics like Chicken With Artichokes–and they certainly did. Products are very natural and made without chemicals. The top sellers include Fish Curry–which was the very favorite with all the food journos at the dinner–and the Petit Fours for desserts which include a mix of a mocha cream cake and lemon tarts, among a few other sweets. And speaking of sweets, their mixed box of macarons is flying off the shelf as if they had wings. Each homemade macaron averages out at a dollar per macron, as opposed to two or three dollars at pastry palaces like Payard. The chocolate soufflees come in ceramic like bowls that are so lovely, you will want to reuse them in the future. The wonders are probably the most popular of all the desserts in the store, as they are made and quickly frozen–and so much easier than trying to make yourself. In 15 minutes, your guests will be in awe of you whipping up awesome souffles. No one needs to know that you did not make them yourself, LOL!
Side dishes I fell in love with include the Dauphine Potatoes (a gourmet version of Tater Tots which kids love to dip in several of the sauces available from Babeth’s Feast), carrot ecrasse and farrow with mushrooms, asparagus and corn (which is a meal in itself).
There are large 28 ounce packages of entrees that serve about three people and the general price range is $16 to $18 dollars for them, which is much cheaper than eating out. Customers I spoke to in the store say that their family faves include the Chicken Parmigiana served with the wonderful frozen baguettes. The frozen breads including ginger biscuits are incredible here–as we go to press, the finer biscuits are two for one and will remain so through the month. I am a big fan of the raspberry cake–also a two for one right now. It is not sweet as layer cakes tend to be. Actually this is a low but layered cake, not unlike a napoleon and there are plenty of small layers of cream and whole berries.
If you are not on the Upper East Side, you can order from www.babethsfeast.com. (All deliveries are free in Manhattan.) The food will come to you well-packed to keep it frozen. My next move is to test the mini eclairs I have heard so much about! (Can you tell that I have a fierce sweet tooth yet, LOL!) I already put down a box of the macarons in under ten minutes while I was watching House Hunters the other night!
Update: There are many great deals going on at babethsfeast.com for the holidays including two for one soups and a free box of macarons with any purchase. Get on their mailing list to keep up with these delicious offers