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L’Auberge Chez François Herbed Cottage Cheese Spread

5 stars based on 5 votes

My first job out of culinary school was as a line cook at the acclaimed L’Auberge Chez François, a romantic French restaurant right outside of Washington, DC. If you’re from the area, you’ve likely spent a special occasion there. If not, just imagine an Old World style cottage in the rolling hills of Virginia, dining rooms appointed with cozy fireplaces and traditional Alsatian decor, an old-school French menu featuring the likes of escargots, foie gras and Chateaubriand, and a whole lotta charm…it’s just a very special place.

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I found out pretty quickly that working there wasn’t quite as romantic as dining there. It was a large, European-style brigade kitchen with the chef at the helm and all the cooks “manning” their stations. I was the only woman.  I cried every time the chef yelled at me, had to get lifts on my shoes to reach the plates, and was “rescued” by more experienced cooks on more than one occasion. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to cook in a restaurant kitchen, just imagine trying to juggle multiple orders in your head, cooking on four different burners with food in the oven at the same time, flames, sharp knives, hot pans and the incessant stream of orders coming in and going out. It was terrifying!

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I did eventually get the hang of it, and though I never once forgot what a privilege it was to work there, I have to admit that I’m much happier to be a guest at Chez François now. One of the nicest parts about dining there is all the unexpected treats that show up at your table throughout the meal, like decadent chocolate truffles after dessert, sorbets garnished with candied violets in-between courses, or my personal favorite, the Herbed Cottage Cheese Spread that comes with a basket of toasted garlic bread while you peruse the menu. It’s blend of cottage cheese, sour cream, garlic, scallions and fresh herbs that’s irresistible…the perfect beginning to an always perfect meal.

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Note: At the restaurant, this is served as a spread but it’s also delicious on its own as a snack or side, like cottage cheese. For best results, do not use low fat cottage cheese or sour cream.

L'Auberge Chez François Herbed Cottage Cheese Spread

Servings: 2-2/3 cups
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 1 pound 4% small-curd, cream-style cottage cheese (I use Breakstone's)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (I use Breakstone's)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced green onions or chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley, plus more for garnish


  1. Combine the cottage cheese and sour cream in a medium bowl and blend well. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly and adjust seasonings. Cover and chill well before serving. Serve with toasted garlic bread or crackers and garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: About 1/3 cup
  • Calories: 95
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Sodium: 368mg
  • Cholesterol: 20mg

Reviews & Comments

  • This sounds really good. I’ll have to try it.
    It’s different than my family’s concoction of black olives (California type) and chopped pepperocini mixed in which we eat with potato chips usually.

    Your experience sounds like a nightmare and makes me realize I am lucky to just have the multiple pots on the stove with two orders going (my husband and I seldom eat the same meal). At least I don’t have to juggle orders coming in! Even getting two done at the same time is hard enough!

    - Timaree on July 6, 2017 Reply
  • When you say to blend the cottage cheese and sour cream, is that by stirring or with a mixer?

    - Kelly on April 15, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Kelly, you can just blend it by hand- no mixer necessary!

      - Jenn on April 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love this quick and easy dip. Only got to the restaurant once but relish telling my guests where the recipe comes from. Its a winner and so easy to make. Many friends have asked for the recipe and so enjoy referring them to this site. The recipe comes out perfect as is.

    - MaudGonne on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made up a recipe like this. I wanted a dip for crudities that had a fair amount of protein. I combine a 16 oz carton of 4% Cottage cheese and 8 oz sour cream and being lazy, I add a pkg of ranch dressing. I zap all this in a blender. If it is too thick, I thin it with some milk. Many times when it is hot, I have this dip and crudities for dinner. You can use any kind of salad dressing mix. There is a spicy ranch dressing called Fiesta Ranch that has a nice flavor. Not high brow, but it hit the spot. I thought I was being original. Oh, well. 🙂

    - Mary Seltzer on July 18, 2016 Reply
  • My husband and I are totally addicted to the Roasted Broccoli with Chipotle Honey Butter. I have made it 4 times in the past two weeks. If George H. W. Bush could taste this, I’m sure he would change his opinion about broccoli.
    I love all of your recipes. Please keep them coming!

    - Maureen A Siegel on March 8, 2016 Reply
  • I have a question re the tablespoon of green onion: I was cooking with a woman at a large gathering and when I saw her prepping the green onions and throwing out the bulb … I was suitably horrified! She told me she never uses that part of the onion! Jenn, seeing as this recipe only calls for a tablespoon of onion may I assume you use all bulb?

    - Louise R on March 8, 2016 Reply
    • Louise, don’t be horrified but I never use the bulb either! (I think the onion taste is a little too strong in the bulb.) For this recipe, and when cooking with green onions in general, I use the dark and light green parts. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on March 9, 2016 Reply
  • Can you substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream to cut down on the fat?

    - Lorraine on March 8, 2016 Reply
    • Lorraine, for the best results, I’d stick with sour cream.

      - Jenn on March 8, 2016 Reply
  • Is it good idea to put the cottage cheese in cheesecloth to squeeze out some of the moisture before using it in this spread?

    - Dave Cearley on March 8, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Dave, I don’t think it’s necessary unless your cottage cheese is particularly watery. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on March 8, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Now, I love cottage cheese, so I knew I’d like this recipe…but, oh my gosh, be still my heart! This is incredible and has been my breakfast, on its own/without toast, for days now. This will definitely be a fridge staple. Jenn, I’m about to turn “Julie & Julia” into “Abby & Jenn” [vegetarian-remix] with all the great recipes!

    - Abby Layne on February 17, 2016 Reply
  • So good! This is now my favorite way to use cottage cheese – such a healthy and delicious dip!

    - Dorothea on November 10, 2015 Reply
  • Would you be able to give me the nutritional count and what’s your opinion of using lower “fatty” ingredients? Thanks!

    - Judy Hof on March 27, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Judy, The nutritional data has been added underneath the recipe. I can tell you that the lower fat ingredients don’t work nearly as well — I have tried it!

      - Jenn on March 27, 2015 Reply
  • So pleased to learn from you. Loved the story and photos with this recipe.

    This sounds terrific and I’ll trying it soon!

    - Terri on March 26, 2015 Reply
  • Can you please let us know how you made the garlic bread for this?!? I absolutely love your recipes and can’t wait to serve this also! Thank you!

    - Barbara on November 30, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was beyond delicious. I served it for a girls cocktail night and then couldn’t stop eating the leftovers the next day. It really was better the next day as I didn’t let it rest long enough before serving. Three friends asked for the link to this that evening!

    - Anna Satterfield on July 3, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I believe that this recipe first led me to Once Upon a Chef–for that, I will be forever grateful! This is an elegant, subtle spread that won’t compete with the main course that follows. I like it for it’s simplicity and clean flavors.

    - Dani on July 3, 2014 Reply
  • I found your website by google searching a recipe for this spread about a year ago. I’m so glad that I did because it opened up the door to some amazing recipes that I have tried. The spread is one of my favorites. Chez Francios is sentimental to me as it is where my husband took me on our first date. I was worried it wouldn’t taste exactly the same as the restaurant but it indeed did. I did not modify it from your recipe at all. I would highly recommend it and it is usually the first thing to disappear when i have a dinner party.

    - Izze on November 8, 2013 Reply
  • I’ve been to this restaurant for anniversary dinners and love this spread. So glad to know how to make it for the 364 days between our anniversary dinners 🙂

    - Roz on July 28, 2013 Reply
  • Love the restaurant, love this spread! Thank you so much for the recipe. I made it today and was in heaven! I sliced up a baguette and served plain, untoasted slices and toasted garlic slices, either way it was delicious! Thanks again!

    - CharK on October 21, 2012 Reply
  • I had never thought to use cottage cheese as a spread, but this was light, fresh and delicious!

    - Mandy Burkhart on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • I haven’t had the pleasure of going to this restaurant, but have heard about it from family who live in that area. This is a delicious do-ahead recipe. Very difficult to sample just one bite, then put it away for your guests! Thanks, Jenn!

    - Liz on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I received rave reviews from my friends when I made the L’Auberge Chez Francois Herbed Cottage Cheese Spread!

    - Amy on May 23, 2012 Reply
  • This spread is wonderful. I also served it on garlic toast and my guests loved it.

    - Sally on May 18, 2012 Reply
  • Absolutely delicious spread with the garlic toast!!! Everyone loved it, once again.

    - LindaK on May 16, 2012 Reply
  • Being a diabetic, I look for recipes just like this. 🙂

    - Lori O. on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • Nice recipe – making it this weekend for a “31” party.

    - Stephanie S on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I made this for friends this weekend and it was such a hit with the toasted bread! They loved it and were surprised to find cottage cheese was used in it! Thanks again for the great recipes

    - LindaK on May 14, 2012 Reply
  • I made this for a New Year’s Eve party and it was such a hit! I had many people asking me about it! And I grew up in the DC area, so now I am dying to go back and go to L’Auberge Chez Francois! Thank you for the wonderful recipe and story to go with it!

    - Kristen on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • love this dip!!

    - Martha on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • We love this restaurant (spend every anniversary there) and this dip is amazing. Thank you so much for letting us in on the recipe!

    - Joanne on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This is the best spread. I loved it when eating there and now I can make it!

    - Carly Blair on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • The Carte Room downstairs at the Harvard Faculty Club used to serve a complimentary dip that tasted just fantastic, but the recipe was never revealed. Your list of ingredients sounds remarkably enticing and may just be the same dip. I’m dying to get the ingredients and try it out. I always had it washed down with a Heinekin, but I bet I could savor it all day long with various liquids.
    Thank you so much for at least my anticipation of great enjoyment.

    - Elizabeth T on February 26, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, I’m not sure if this is the same dip but it’s a wonderful and unique recipe…I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think.

      - Jenn on February 27, 2012 Reply
  • This was great! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    - Sara on July 25, 2011 Reply
  • My family and I have been going to L’Auberge Chez Francois since the mid-80’s. It is one of the most special places on earth!

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I’ll have to whip up a batch this weekend and dust off my copy of the cookbook as well.

    - KP on November 2, 2010 Reply
  • Can you use yogurt instead of sour cream?

    - Marie K. on October 29, 2010 Reply
    • Marie, I’d definitely stick with sour cream.

      - Jenn on January 27, 2012 Reply
      • I absolutely despise low fat cooking of any kind, but I have to say that Fage plain Greek yogurt, not the fat free kind, is amazingly good in cold recipes. You can’t heat it, but on a potato or in a dip it’s outstanding.

        - Dave Cearley on March 8, 2016 Reply
  • Thanks for telling the real behind the scenes story! I often toy with the idea of going to culinary school, having worked in many kitchens and restaurants. But then I remember getting yelled at by the pastry chef I worked for one summer, and every other chef for that matter, and I come back to reality. It’s got to be the closest thing to working on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange that there is.

    - Amy S. on October 10, 2010 Reply
  • Love Chez Francois and love this spread. Thank you!!

    - Lynn on October 9, 2010 Reply
  • Working behind the scenes is never as romantic! 🙁
    Love the dip

    - leslie on October 5, 2010 Reply
  • Oh WOW! Bookmarked!

    - peachkins on October 5, 2010 Reply

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