When Vermont Creamery first introduced its crème fraîche more than 20 years ago, French chefs were first in line to buy the rich, cultured cream they knew and loved back home.

Today, crème fraîche is a Vermont Creamery staple, with both chefs and home cooks dedicated to its incredible versatility and ability to enhance just about any dish.

That said, we know there are still quite a few of you out there wondering what the heck is crème fraîche, how to use it, and how is it different from sour cream.

Here are 9 things to know about crème fraîche:

1.     Crème fraîche is a thick, cultured cream with a tart, slightly nutty flavor. According the Food Network’s Dish Blog, “crème fraîche is the richer, sexier and more talented relative” of sour cream.

2.     Our crème fraîche has a butterfat content of 42%, versus sour cream, which contains no more than 20% butterfat — and usually less. This is a critical difference between crème fraîche and sour cream, as the higher butterfat content means the cream won’t break down or curdle when you’re cooking at high heat.

3.     Adding cultures to fresh cream results in a rich, tart taste and smooth mouthfeel that cannot be duplicated. Crème fraîche adds depth and fullness to the flavor food in a way that other cream based products cannot.

4.     Unlike many cream based products, the low acidity of crème fraîche means that it won’t separate when mixed with lemon, wine or vinegar, making it a good choice for dips and finishing sauces.

5.     Crème fraîche is incredibly versatile. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, in baked goods or for pan searing. It’s rich texture and flavor enhances almost any dish.

6.     For sweet applications, crème fraîche can be whipped to soft peaks, scooped directly from the cup, and even piped onto desserts. It can also be mixed with a touch of sweetener to top fresh or stewed berries.

7.     Though crème fraîche will not break down in high heat, it will melt when used on fish or meat under the broiler or dolloped atop hot soups, adding a rich, almost buttery, depth of flavor.

8.     Made with fresh cream from a local dairy cooperative here in Vermont, our crème fraîche does not include any stabilizers, thickening agents or additives — just cream and culture.

9.     Our crème fraîche is gluten free and certified Kosher.
For inspiration, be sure to take a peek at our crème fraîche recipe collection, which has been developed by our chef and food blogger friends around the country. And don’t forget to enter to win our crème fraîche giveaway this month!