France, a country famous for its wines, dairy and delicacies. The French cuisine is one of the most celebrated and sumptuous cuisines of the world.
The origins of this modern haute cuisine lie in chefs like La Varenne and the notable chef of Napoleon, Marie-Antoine Carême. Also the use of fewer spices, and more herbs and creamy ingredients made their dishes lighter than the food of the Middle Ages.
In French culture, enjoyment of food is one of the most important aspects of their tradition. The French always take great pride in their way of preparation of dishes.
Traditionally the main ingredients of French cuisine have always been cheese and wine however, these ingredients play a different role regionally and nationally.
Gastro-tourism or culinary tourism has played an important part in promulgating the local French cuisine to different parts of the world.
The French are known for their lasting meals consisting of various courses. The French typically eat only a simple breakfast (“petit déjeuner“) which consists of coffee or tea, served traditionally in a large handleless “bol” (bowl) and bread or breakfast pastries (croissants). Lunch (“déjeuner“) and dinner (“dîner“) are the main meals of the day.
Formal four course meals consist of a starter course (“entrée“), a salad, a main course (“plat principal“), and finally a cheese or dessert course. While French cuisine is often associated with rich desserts, in most homes , dessert consists of only fruit or yogurt.
The French cuisine consists of various national and regional dishes, some of the prominent ones are:
Other than being a popular animated movie, Ratatouille is a very popular and traditional French dish. In French , ‘touiller’ means tossed food, thus Ratatouille is basically a dish made by tossing assorted vegetables.
Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish and a filling, but also is eaten as a stand-alone dish. Tomato is the key ingredient while onion, garlic, peppers basil etc. are also used. It is usually advised to first cook each vegetable separately so that each vegetable retains its taste and texture.
The Baguette , meaning wand , is a long , thin and crisp crusted bread. This bread is one of the most popular breads that epitomize the French cuisine. This bread is commonly made from a lean dough , which is made from wheat flour , water , yeast and common salt.
Baguettes , which are relatively small in size or cut from a longer loaf , are used for submarine sandwiches and also for paninis.
Éclair is one of the most world-famous pastries of France. The word Éclair means ‘flash of lightening’, named so as it is generally eaten swiftly.
It is made with choux dough and baked until it is crisp and hollow. It is filled with either a flavoured custard (vanilla, chocolate flavoured) or with whipped cream and then finally iced with fondant icing.
The Éclair has many variations of different flavour and different icings , one such variation is the bâton de Jacob in which icing is of caramel.
Soupe à l’oignon
Soupe à l’oignon or The French Onion Soup is a soup made with meat stock and is often topped with croutons (piece of sautéed or rebaked bread, often cubed and seasoned, that is used to add texture and flavour) and cheese.
Also the caramelized onions give an exceptional taste to the soup. Soupe à l’oignon is a prehistoric dish and can be dated back to the Roman Era. It started to become a household name by the 1960s and is usually served as an appetizer.
Confit de canard
Confit de canard or Duck Confit is a dish made with duck’s leg. Confit is a French word which means ‘preservation’, thus Confit is a technique for preservation of meat.
To prepare a confit, the meat is rubbed with salt, garlic, and herbs then it is stored in a refrigerator for upto 3 days.
The meat with its rendered fat is cooked in an oven in low heat. But prior to cooking of the meat the spices are washed out and the meat is dried. Finally , after taking the meat out of the oven it is poached until it is soft and tender.
One of the most popular dishes in France is the Crepe. The word Crepe is derived from the Latin word ‘Crispa’ which means ‘Curled’.
Crepe is basically a very thin pancake made with wheat flour. Crepe is one of the most consumed dishes not only in France, but also in Belgium and other parts of Europe. The Crepes usually are either sweet or savoury.
The sweet crepes are eaten as part of breakfast or as a dessert. They are filled and topped with various sweet toppings, like Nutella chocolate spread , sugar , maple syrup, fruits etc.
While the savoury flavour is generally served for lunch and dinner and contains fillings such as cheese, eggs, ham , mushrooms and meat products.