Background of French Cuisine
Food in France
While the countryside of France has long served as the main supplier of food in Paris for centuries, Paris today is supplied with food from all corners of France and the world. Notice the signature French foods offered at the boulangerie, pâtisserie, fromagerie and restaurant such as baguettes, croissants, cheese, black truffles, beef, Bresse chicken, lam, pork, veal and oysters. The list goes on and who can forget about caviar. But look out especially for foods marked with Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC). This food certification system sets apart certain butters, cheeses, wines and other agricultural foods that are required to be produced with distinct ingredients in a specific region of France to retain its signature name such as Roquefort.
A Brief History of French Food
14th century France became heavily influenced by Italian cuisine, but it was not until the 17th century when French cuisine created its own unique palette. Although different regions across France boast diverse culinary recipes, France unites in its love for cheese and wine. France began to witness a rise in gastro-tourism during the 20th century, which informed people about both wealthy bourgeois and peasant dishes, and recipes were spread throughout.
It is no surprise that UNESCO listed French cuisine among the names of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010 that aims to protect and promote cultural importance. French cuisine continues to set the caliber standard of gastronomy that goes internationally recognized.
Traditional Dishes that Deserve Your Appetite
French meals traditionally come in three courses, the hors d’oeuvre (appetiser), plat principal (main course) and fromage (cheese plate) or dessert. Some traditional dishes to dine into are:
- Tarte Flambée — an Alsatian bacon and onion tart
- Coq au vin — chicken in wine sause
- Chocolate Mousse — airy yet decadent chocolate dessert
- Steak Diane — steak caramelised in brandy
- Pain au chocolat — croissants made with dark-chocolate inside
- Tartiflette — bacon, potato and reblochon casserole
- Lamb Navarin — lamb stew with onions, peas and root vegetables
- Ratatouille — stewed vegetable dish
- Trout Meunière Amandine — fried fish with almonds and a brown butter sauce
- Canard aux olives — roast duck with olives
- Escargots à la Bourguignonne — snails in garlic-herb butter
- Tartare de filet de boeuf — steak tartare
- Quiche Lorraine — cheesy and eggy quiche