The Monte Cristo Sandwich tends to vary from restaurant to restaurant. A classic Monte Cristo Sandwich should come with a side of jelly to dip it in.
If you love French Toast, you will definitely love this sandwich. The basic sandwich is a double-decker sandwich, two slices of white bread containing ham, turkey, or chicken, and a slice of cheese that are dipped in beaten egg and fried in butter. The secret to this sandwich is the batter, and getting it fried just right. This sandwich is crisp on the outside and custardy on the inside.
This sandwich is definitely not a health food or diet food! Sometimes we just want good food with all the calories and fat included.
1910 – Most food historian generally think that the Monte Cristo sandwich is a variation of a French dish called Croque Monsieur. This original grilled cheese sandwich consisted of Gruyere cheese and lean ham between two slices of crust-less bread, fried in clarified butter. It was originally served in 1910 in a Paris cafe.
This sandwich is still a popular snack or casual meal throughout France and Switzerland in most bars and cafes. It is usually made in a special sandwich grilling iron consisting of two hinged metal plates, each with two shell-shaped indentations. At most Paris cafes, the Croque Monsieur is no longer prepared as a square sandwich but rather as a one-sided tartine made with a large single slice of bread from a round loaf.
1930s to 1960s – Many American cookbooks, published in the 1930s to1960s, featured this sandwich under different names such as French Sandwich, Toasted Ham Sandwich, and French Toasted Cheese Sandwich.
1950s – Although there are no existing documents to support this, it is felt that the Monte Cristo Sandwich was first served in southern California in the 1950s.
1966 – Disneyland in Anaheim, California also contributed to the trend of eating this sandwich. In 1966, it appeared on their menu of the Blue Bayou and Tahitian Terrace restaurants in New Orleanss Square in Disneyland and has continued to be a popular menu item to this day.
Categories:Food History French Recipes Sandwiches History
8 Responses to “Monte Cristo Sandwich History”
I was always under the impression that the Monte Cristo sandwich had its origins actually in Washington State right after the gold rush and was named for the place where it was invented – Monte Cristo, Wasghinton. I am told this by my grandfather who grew up in Darrington just north of Mont Cristo and we all know grandpas love to tell true stories – but hey it’s a primary source and I would be surprised if San Francisco tried to capitalize on the invention.
Thank you for sharing the interesting tidbit on a possible place of origin for the monte cristo sandwich.
King Monte Cristo
Monte Cristo, WA as place of origin sounds plausible. Bavarian Fredrick Trump, grandfather of POTUS 45 may have served the cheesy sandwich in his now Ghost Town Hotel + soiled doves. See ‘Trump’s grandfather’s brothel: Washington ghost town’s claim to fame’ The Oregonian
Disneyland did not invent the friend version of the Monte Cristo. The fried version was being served in LA in the 50s at the Brown Derby and also in the 50s in San Diego at the Hotel Del Coronado who was copying the Brown Derby for their similar clientele; celebrities.
Disneyland perhaps popularized it for the middle class the same way El Torito defined Mexican food for the middle class on the West Coast and Chi Chis defined Mexican food for middle America. But neither invented the Taco.
Clearly, as any real chef would note, the structure of the sandwich is very French. So the sandwich was most likely inspired by something in France that American GIs loved and brought back with them from WWII and the liberation of France. That is the simplest explanation and the one that makes the most sense. And it’s the story I remember hearing from a guy who was a cook at the Brown Derby back in the day.
I studied Culinary Arts and I’ve always known it came from France. Ive been a chef for over 30yrs Hence the name Monte Cristo
Monte Cristo Hotel
I spent 20 years cooking professionally and still love to study the origins of local sandwiches. I lived in Salida, CO for about 10 years off and on when I was younger and spent many hours at the Salida Library in Colorado reading about local history. Unfortunately, I don’t have the text to cite but I remember reading that the sandwich was invented there at the Monte Christo Hotel around the turn of the century. The hotel had a first rate restaurant that serviced passengers from the railroad when there was a stop there.
I remember being so excited to learn that and told just about everyone I met for the next couple years. I hope that adds to the conversation!
Argue all you want about the origins. I just know that I try it from every menu that has it, and my expectations have not been met. My standard was created by the Blue Bayou, and I’m still waiting to find a comparable product in my city.
It was love at first bite at Disneyland 40 plus years ago. I have ordered it at many places other than Disneyland and its NEVER been anything close! But the recipe was in a Disney magazine years ago, I kept it and made them for the first time in many years. VERY close to the Blue Bayou. Lots of powered sugar and grape jelly! A little taste of heaven in this crazy world! Mmmmmm. No idea as to the history, that’s what got me here.