Complimenting the European wine varietals at High Country Victoria’s Ros Ritchie wines cellar door, Essentials’ Megan Chalmers has put together a collection of French recipes to indulge in this winter. Stay tuned to Essentials for more classic French recipes as we provide coverage of the 2021 Tour de France this winter.

Makes 4 individual serves

8 slices of fresh brioche or sourdough bread
4 tbsp unsalted butter
500ml truffled béchamel sauce (see recipe below)
8 slices of smoked leg ham
4 cups grated mix of Emmental and Gruyere cheese
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
freshly sliced black truffle
pickled cornichons

Pre-heat oven to 200C

To prepare the Croque Monsieur

1. Lay 4 slices of brioche or sourdough bread on a lined baking tray and spread each slice evenly with Dijon mustard.

2. Add a tablespoon of the truffled béchamel sauce on top of each bread slice and spread evenly.

3. Add a generous amount of grated cheese on top of each truffled béchamel sauce layer.

4. Add 2 slices of quality leg ham, then more cheese and fresh truffle slices to complete the base layers of each croque monsieur.

5. Top each croque monsieur with remaining brioche slices, covered in a final additional layer of truffled béchamel sauce.

6. In a large heavy base frying pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter and add 1 prepared
croque monsieur to the hot pan. Cook until golden in colour, then turn over to cook the other side.

7. Set aside the first cooked croque monsieur on the lined baking tray and continue to the remaining three.

8. Place all pan-cooked croque monsieur in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Black Truffle Croque Monsieur

To Serve

Remove from the oven and slice, then top with an arrangement of fresh black truffle slices and pickled cornichons.

Truffled Béchamel Sauce

Makes approximately 500ml

425ml milk
a few parsley stalks
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
10 whole black peppercorns
1 slice onion, 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick
40g unsalted butter
20g plain flour
salt and pepper to season
20g truffle brie cheese


1. First, place the milk in a small saucepan and add the parsley stalks, bay leaf, nutmeg, peppercorns and onion. Then place it over a low heat and let it come very slowly up to simmering point, which will take approximately 5 minutes. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the milk into a jug, discarding the flavourings.

2. In a medium-size saucepan, over a low heat, add the butter and slowly melt.

3. Add the flour and stir well with a wooden spoon to make a smooth glossy paste.

4. Slowly begin adding the infused milk a little at a time stirring vigorously. Continue to add until about half of the milk has been incorporated, then using a balloon whisky, continuing adding the remaining milk and whisk well.

5. Turn the heat to low and continue to cook the sauce cook for approximately 5 minutes, then whisk in the truffle brie, and continue to whisk until melted through the sauce.

6. Remove from heat and season to taste. Set aside ready for serving.

Winemaker Ros Ritchie

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