Fleur’s Jambon Sandwich

This simple French sandwich is one of Whitefish’s most coveted lunch items

By Denali Sagner
Ham and cheese sandwich from Fleur Bake Shop. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Like a bluebird Big Mountain powder day or a glimpse of a grizzly bear from the car window, Fleur Bake Shop’s Jambon sandwich is a Flathead Valley rarity. 

The French-style bakery pumps out between 15 and 30 coveted ham and cheese sandwiches per day. The sandwiches hit the pastry case some time around noon, and they can disappear into the hands of hungry customers in just minutes. Regulars time their Fleur visits just to snag a coveted Jambon. Tourists who enter the bakery right as the gleaming tower of sandwiches arises from the kitchen are simply lucky. 

As Fleur owner Whitney Brien says, “It’s the one thing we can never make enough of.”

Brien is a lifelong baker who attended the L’Art du Gâteau pastry program at The French Pastry School in Chicago. Before moving to Whitefish, she worked in Colorado and Portland, where she further developed her French baking skills. Brien opened Fleur in 2017 behind Whitefish’s Lakestream Fly Shop. The bakery moved to its current location in downtown Whitefish in the spring of 2019. 

Fleur makes all of its pastries, breads, soups, salads and desserts in-house, from its sourdough ciabatta and baguettes to its flourless fudge brownies, almond croissants, ginger molasses cookies and hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows. At the core of Fleur’s wide-ranging menu is Brien’s pastry background, which has endowed the bakery owner and her staff with the skills to bring French-style desserts to the Flathead Valley. 

Despite its reputation for high-quality sweet treats, it’s not all desserts at Fleur. 

In 2020, Brien and her team decided to introduce a sandwich to their growing lunch menu, which included homemade soups and salads. Given Fleur’s French flair, the Jambon was a clear choice. 

“I wanted to feature a sandwich and just add to our savory lunch items,” Brien said. “[The Jambons] reflect a traditional Parisian sandwich where it’s just basic and quality ingredients, and it doesn’t have to be complicated to be good.”

The sandwich starts with Fleur’s baguettes, which are baked fresh every day. After the baguettes come out of the oven, they’re sliced, slathered with a high-fat European butter, and sprinkled with Maldon sea salt. 

Pastry Chef Whitney Brien, owner and operator of Fleur Bake Shop, is pictured with her work in Whitefish on Feb. 12, 2024. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon
A sign for Fleur Bake Shop on Central Avenue in Whitefish on Feb. 12, 2024. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Brien says the baguette’s “nice and chewy” inside pairs perfectly with the crunch of its “soft and crusty exterior.” 

The sandwiches are then layered with slices of ham and Gruyere cheese and sent out to customers. 

“It’s not complicated, which I think is part of the reason it stands out to people. It’s just quality ingredients, and those stand alone and taste really good,” Brien said. 

Aside from swapping their ham distributor (Fleur recently switched from Perfect Cuts to Farm to Market Pork), the sandwich has stayed the same since its creation in 2020. Brien said the bakery already uses Farm to Market’s bacon and sausage, so it made sense to consolidate all of their meat purchasing under the Kalispell distributor. 

While Fleur would like to make more Jambon sandwiches each day, the small-batch nature of the bake shop doesn’t lend itself to mass production. Each baguette is homemade and carefully stacked with high-quality, local ingredients. Brien hopes that a recent renovation of the kitchen will help the bakery manage higher quantity production, and even produce more Jambons. 

For now, though, eager sandwich eaters can rest assured that the Jambon isn’t going anywhere. 

“I don’t think we’ll ever take it off the menu,” Brien said. 

If anything, the bakery owner added, she’d like to add a vegetarian option to supplement the Jambon in the pastry case.

Pastries and baked goods from Fleur Bake Shop in Whitefish on Feb. 12, 2024. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon


Description: A ham and gruyere cheese sandwich made on a fresh baguette with butter and Maldon sea salt 

Hours: Every day, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Fleur Bake Shop, 103 Central Ave, Whitefish

Contact: www.fleurbakeshop.com