Creamy cheeses, steaming bread, the scent of olive oil and pepper in the air, and warm sugar dusted pastries that melt on your tongue are just some of the things that describe the food in France. In many ways, understanding the food is understanding France itself. The French take pride in their cooking. In France, it is said the way you prepare and serve your meal reflects upon you and your family. France has set the bar in terms of high culinary standards.
Some of France’s traditional dishes can be dated back to the fifteenth century, where dishes were decorated lavishly to hide the use of rotting food in the homes of the rich. Later on, food was decorated and flavored not to hide the rotting food, but to emphasize the flavors of the regional food (Lowen 36). In France, there are many different types of cooking, due to the geographical differences of the country.
In the Northwestern regions, they specialize in fruit, and in dairy. In the Southeastern region, the main foods they use are heavy meat and lard, due to the close proximity to Germany.
Northern regions usually have more wheat, cheese, and beer. The Southern region serves more herbs, olive oil, tomatoes, and spices, which is cuisine du terrior, more traditional cooking (France and Their French Culinary Traditions). In the many regions of France, along with different cooking styles, there are regional wines. The French produce around seven to eight billion bottles a year. France is the second largest wine producer, behind Spain (French Wine). In Alsace, Eastern France, white wines are produced in bulk there.
Additionally, in Eastern France, Beaujolais, is primarily a red wine region. In Champagne, North Eastern France, sparkling wines are produced there, along with some rose, and white (French Wine). There are over fifty different wine regions, each with a wine they specialize in. Wine is served throughout the day, with every meal. Children start drinking wine around the age of thirteen with their meals. Younger children also join in, but their wine is diluted with water. Typically a red wine is served at the end of the meal with a platter of cheeses, to signal the end of the meal.
In France, there are three hundred to four hundred distinct types of cheeses grouped into eight categories, les huit familles de fromage (List of French Cheeses). The cheeses are made with different milk to give it different flavors. The most popular are cow, ewe, and goat milk. The animal milk gives the cheeses different flavors based upon the animal’s diet, and because each animal has a different protein and acidic combination. Cheeses also get different flavors by the environment in which they are produced.
It is said that each person in France consumes about forty-five pounds of cheese every year. France is said to be the “Cheese Capital of the World” (List of French Cheeses). Cheese is a staple part of everyday life in France. Breakfast in France is a light meal, consisting of a small platter of fresh fruit from the local farmers market, a small tartine, which is half a buttered baguette, with your choice of jams or jellies to dip them in (Culinary Ambassadors-Breakfast in France). Also at the breakfast table, one can find hot chocolate for the children and hot espressos for the adults.
Drinks that are normally reserved for winter, however, the French enjoy them all year round. Lunch is taken very seriously in France. Most lunch breaks are two hours long! Normally, lunch starts at eleven and ends at one. Most Southern businesses take longer breaks, due to the Mediterranean being right there; they might fish, or take a swim before returning to work for the afternoon (France Property and Information). The lunch time food will normally depend on the region, because most meals in France consist of fresh and local ingredients.
Dinner in France is the most important meal of the day; normally eaten late in the evening, it consist of many dishes and courses, even for a family dinner. Even the most simple of dishes, are presented elegantly and taste excellent. The first part of a party dinner meal would be L’Aperitif, which consist of small alcoholic drinks and small bites of hot food, to stimulate the appetite. After that, the host serves L’Entree (Appetizer), during this time; the guest could be served anything from capers to small bowls of hot soups.
Le Plat Principal, the main course, will most likely have fish or beef, and local vegetables. The next part, La Fromage (cheese), will have a wide variety of cheeses to pertain to every guests taste. After the guests finish their cheese plates, they move on to La’ Cafe (coffee), which is normally taken in the living room and served with a small piece of chocolate, which is said to increase the flavor. To signal the end of the meal, the hosts’ serves Le Diegestif, which consist of strong alcoholic beverages such a cognac, brandy, or whiskey.
The French use this to end the meal to signal awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. (Courses of a French Dinner). Also on holidays such as, Christmas, or New Years, the men end the night by smoking cigars and drinking strong alcohol. In France, holidays such as, Christmas, are very important. During the Christmas meal, La revillion, which is held at midnight mass on Christmas Eve, the main course for this meal varies from region to region. The meal is very similar to a party dinner, except for their dessert menu; in Provence, they serve thirteen desserts to represent Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles.
The desserts are traditionally set out on Christmas Eve and remain on the table three days until December twenty-seventh (List of Christmas Dishes). The most well know and popular dessert of the Christmas season is the Yule Log, Buche de Nol. The Yule Log is a small cake, normally chocolate, that is in the shape of the traditional Yule Log the French used to burn from Christmas to New Year to symbolize good luck. Henry Bourne was the first to use the Yule log in the seventeenth century (Christmas in France).
Many chefs are trained in the art of French cooking. Antoine Careme, the first nationally recognized chef in the eighteenth century was known as the “King of Chefs and the Chef of Kings”. Another famous chef, George Auguste Escoffier, made a modernization of Careme’s traditional recipes. Escoffier lent his talents in the opening in the Ritz and Carlton Hotels that he opened with is partner, Caesar Ritz. Charles Ranhofer is known as one of the most famous chefs because; he brought French cooking to American cities.
Ranhofer first brought French cuisine to New York’s famed Delmonico’s restaurant. Delmonico’s served many great people, from President Johnson, President U. S Grant, and many foreign ambassadors with his modified French-American cooking (Famous Chefs in History). Any writings about French Chefs won’t be complete with out mentioning Julia Child. Child’s starting cooking at the age of thirty-four, when she moved to Paris with her husband. At that time, she came up with her great epiphany; “Good food is more that roast beef and mashed potatoes.
” After that life changing moment, Child enrolled in Le Cordon Blue cooking school. After she completed the course, she wrote her infamous cook book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Child’s went on to become the first “Celebrity Chef” with T. V shows, more books, and magazine articles. Many chefs use Child’s recipes in their restaurants. In Paris alone, there are over five thousand restaurants, and with that many places to eat, it’s sometimes hard to choose. (French Food Facts). The Michelin Guide is a series of books published by Michelin for over a dozen countries.
The guide originally started out as a hotel and restaurant guide to help guide tourists to places that best fit their needs (Michelin Guide). The first book was distributed in the nineteen-hundreds for free, but now they charge for each edition. The guide began recognizing outstanding restaurants in the1920’s. By listing a restaurant in the guide, two or three stars is usually added to their ratings, and yield twenty-five percent more business for the following year (France Property and Food). The modern restaurant got its start from France.
Prior to the eighteenth century people who wished to “dine out” would visit their local guild member’s kitchen, and have their meal prepared for them there. In the mid 1700’s, the first restaurants started appearing. These locations were open all times of the day, and they all featured the finest china and the prices were reasonable. The most famous French restaurants were started by ex-monarchy cooks, who left in the years leading up to the French Revolution (French Cuisine). The making of French food is difficult, and most of all, time consuming, but the end product is worth it.
All of the history and techniques that go into a single meal is outstanding. From the French language, bon appetit has been a familiar saying known around the world. Meaning good appetite and enjoy your meal. So, “Bon Appetit. ” Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or playing music. ~ Julia Child Works Cited “Culinary Ambassadors.
” Serious Seats. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. . “Famous Chefs In History. ” Street Dictionary. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. . “French Christmas. ” Santas. net. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. . “French Dinner. ” Wise Geek. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. . “French Wine. ” Wikipedia. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. . “List of French Cheeses. ” Wikipedia. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. . “List of Christmas Dishes. ” Wikipedia. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. . Lowen , Nancy. Food in France. Vero Beach, Florida: Rourke Publications Inc, 1991. Print. “Michelin Guide. ” Wikipedia. Web. 24 Apr. 2012.
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French Food. (2017, Mar 21). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/french-food-essay