What is it?
Translated from French, crème fraîche means "fresh cream." Traditionally, it was a heavy, unpasteurized cream that came from freshly milked cows and had been soured by bacterial culture. These days, the term more commonly refers to a specific kind of thick, rich, pasteurized cream produced in a factory that is lightly acidulated through controlled ripening.
Crème fraîche looks like sour cream, or maybe Greek yogurt -- thick, off-white and creamy. But where sour cream is made from cream that's around 20 per cent fat, crème fraîche is more like 30 per cent butterfat.
Unlike its sour cousin, crème fraîche is rich and tart. The hint of acidity gives it a refreshing flavour. As of byproduct of the added bacteria that helped create it, it tends to make other foods taste buttery.
In its native France, it's commonly used in sauces, salad dressings, soups and pastries, and as a topping for fresh fruit. It can also be spooned on to pancakes and waffles. Some people also like to whip it with a little powdered sugar and vanilla for a sweeter topping, or a filling for crepes.
Vic's Fruit Market, 1038 Pembina Hwy.