Embracing our past: French-inspired Northwest fresh cuisine
Classic French winemaking has always inspired me, with its earthy, food-friendly wines, and so I took a French nom de plume – Vin du Lac – under which to make my wines. But what’s the point of food-friendly wines without food? It never made sense to me to offer wines without food, so from the beginning we have had French-inspired foods to go with our French-inspired wines.
In the early days, we had little more than a deli cooler, but we stocked it with beautiful Jambon sandwiches, made by my mother on excellent French baguettes from Anjou bakery in Cashmere. Eventually we started offering hot lunches, with baked oeufs (eggs,) panini and crepes, and classic croquet monsieur and croquet madame sandwiches.
If you’re lucky, inspirations continue to come to you throughout life, and the growing movement in Northwest cuisine toward using the freshest local produce and ingredients is one that I embraced fully. So we now have an acre-plus garden for produce and herbs, and we try to source locally as much as we can, which gives us better ingredients and helps support our neighbors and partners in this very seasonal local economy.
For a couple years we focused more on the fresh than the French with our menu, but these two are in no way mutually exclusive, and I’ve realized that the early days, the early inspirations, were true and good and are what made Vin du Lac unique. So when you visit, I hope you will be delighted to find a menu that fully embraces both my early love of French cooking, as well as our devotion to fresh, local and sustainable cuisine.
– Larry Lehmbecker