French Cuisines Everything you need to know

France

Of all the cuisines, none has the aura or lofty reputation of French cuisine. This is because the French have held cuisine to the highest standard in recent history, and culinary professionals in France are some of the most dedicated and appreciated professionals in the world. French cuisine is often looked upon as the trendsetter, the epitome of the best, with the best ingredients paired with the best talent and the best palette yielding masterpieces of human ingenuity that drive chefs worldwide to try to match or trump this great cuisine.

Geographic location

France is located in Western Europe. It borders the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay to the west; the Mediterranean Sea to the south; Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium to the east; and Spain and Andorra to the southwest. The unique geography of France allows it to connect to all major western European nations by the land or the sea. France is connected to the UK by the English Channel Tunnel, and by land to Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium. The French coastline provides access by sea to northern Europe, America, and Africa via the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean.

France is the largest country in Western Europe and the second largest country in Europe, with the fifth largest population in Europe.

France also has a varied climate and fertile countryside throughout the different regions that enables the production of a large variety of land products and animals. When combined with the high arability of the land (33%) and the national attitude toward quality foods, the conditions for providing people with great cuisine are in place.

Historical Background

  • The history of France is filled with tales of aristocrats, wars, and revolutions that have played a major role in its emergence as one of the most developed nations of the world.
  • In ancient times, France was a part of Celtic territory called Gaul. The Romans, led by Julius Caesar, captured Gaul in the first century B.C. During the second century A.D. Christianity gained a strong foothold in this region and thus became the major religion.
  • Over the years the country was ruled by the monarchy and royal dynasties like the Capetians, Valois, and finally the Bourbons.
  • The rule of the French monarchy, however, came to an end after the French Revolution of 1789, and the execution of the King Louis XVI and his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette. The French Revolution was a major event in the history of France and to the rest of the world.
  • France had numerous colonial territories and it had the second largest holdings after those of the British Empire. France’s ultimate victory in World War I and World War II after initially being invaded and partly occupied by German forces did not prevent the loss of the colonial empire, the comparative economic status, population, and status as a dominant nation state.

Significant Features – Staple food with regional influences

  1. Since the sixteenth century, French cooking has been celebrated as the Western world’s finest. Recipes prepared in the traditional style of haute cuisine, as developed by such renowned chefs as Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755– 1826), Marie-Antoine Careme or Georges Auguste Escoffier (1847–1935) is still featured in distinguished restaurants.
  2. Today’s concern with dieting and health has produced a new style of cooking. Nouvelle cuisine, said to have been introduced by Fernand Point, Paul Bocuse and Michel Guerard, emphasizes lighter, subtler tastes, requiring the best and the freshest raw ingredients.French cuisine is one of the few cuisines that appear to have left more of an imprint on other cuisines than the other way around.
  3. AOC Appelation d’Origine Controlee, which roughly translates to “term of origin,” is a certification granted to certain French wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products by a government bureau known as the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO). Under French law, it is illegal to manufacture and sell a product underone of the AOC-controlled names if it does not comply with the criteria established by the AOC.
  4. French chefs are notorious for their insistence on not cutting corners, to ensure that the end product is as good as it can be.
  5. The logical and pyramid-shaped organizational structure of French cuisine enables much greater efficiency in kitchens that produce many items, and it provides a system that can be taught to the staff so that everyone will know each layer of a final product.
  6. The backbone of the country’s everyday fare is the breads, cheeses, and charcuterie.
  7. No nation knows more about mastering fat than the French, especially butter,
  8. whether melted to make a silky hollandaise or béarnaise, or folded cold into pastry to make croissants or puff pastry.
  9. There is the classic French mixture of chopped fresh tarragon, chervil, chives and parsley (fine herbes)that is used to flavour French dishes.
  10. Fresh apples, berries, haricot verts, leeks, mushrooms, and various squash and stone fruits are among the most commonly used produce.
  11. Poultry, beef, lamb, and veal are easily available year round; game meat is especially popular and abundant during the hunting season.

Sub-Regions

  • The North and Northeast: Nord-Pas-De- Calais, Picardie, and Champagne
  • The North-western Coast: Normandy and Brittany
  • Île de France: Paris
  • The Central Western Loire Valley: Pays de la Loire and Poitou-Charentes
  • The Central Eastern Region: Ardenne, Bourgogne, and Lyon
  • The Central Western Mountain Region: Alsace and Lorraine
  • The South-eastern Alpine Region: Franche-Comte and Savoy
  • The South Central Mountain Region: Auvergne and Limousin
  • The South-eastern Mediterranean Region: Provence and Languedoc
  • South-western Region: Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées, and Pays Basque

Popular Ingredients

  • Agneau de Pauillac: Pauillac lamb comes from Bordeaux.
  • Aioli: A sauce from Provence, similar to mayonnaise but heavily flavored with garlic; the Spanish version is called ali-oil (garlic oil).
  • Allspice: A berry from the allspice tree. Pungent and aromatic, primarily used in pickling liquids, marinades, and spice cakes and fruitcakes.
  • Anise: Sweet-smelling herb with feathery leaves producing aniseed; anise is the true taste of licorice.
  • Aspic: Clear jelly used to coat cold foods
  • Aspergus: Asparagus
  • Butter: Beurre Blanc, Beurre Manie, Beurre Noir, Beurre Noisette.
  • Camargue Rice: Known as red rice due to its red colour, it is short grained rice commonly eaten and grown in southern France.
  • Champignon: Term for mushrooms.
  • Cepes: Wild mushrooms; known as porcini mushrooms in Italy and Steinpilzen in Germany.
  • Cheese: Banon, Brie, Comte, Emmental, Neufchatel, Camembert, Roquefort, Valency
  • Globe Artichokes: These are shoots of a plant called Cynara Cardunculus.
  • Creme Fraiche: Clotted, soured cream
  • Perigold Truffle: It is highly flavoured variety of mushrooms which grows underground.
  • Quatre Epices (Four Spices): A French spice mixture consisting of white pepper, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Tripe: It is the inner lining of beef stomach.

Specialities

  • Babas: Small raisin-filled yeast cakes that are soaked in rum-flavoured sugar syrup after baking.
  • Baguette: It is a long thin loaf of bread that is commonly made from basiclean dough.
  • Bavarian Cream (Bavarois): A rich egg custard stiffened or set with gelatin and whipped cream added.
  • Beignets: Light French fritters made from choux pastry, or dipped in batter and deep-fat-fried.
  • Blanquette: A stew of lamb, veal, chicken, or rabbit with a rich sauce made from the cooking liquid, often garnished with small onions and mushrooms.
  • Boeuf Bourguignon: This is a stewed preparation of chunks of beef with root vegetables in a red wine sauce.
  • Bouillabaisse: A Mediterranean fish stew that originated in Marseilles. Traditionally served in two dishes, one for the pieces of fish and the other containing slices of French bread with the broth poured on top.
  • Brioche: Rich yeast dough; high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb.
  • Canapé: Small open-faced, garnished pieces of bread or toast, they are always small (one or two bites) and served as an appetizer or with cocktails.
  • Compote: Term for fresh or dried fruit poached in a thick simple syrup to which flavourings may be added.
  • Consommé: Clarified flavourful stocks garnished with various vegetables and cuts.
  • Coq au vin: A red wine braised preparation of Chicken and root vegetables.
  • Crepe: A very thin French pancake that can be sweet or savoury.
  • Duxelles: Finely chopped mixture of mushrooms, shallots, and herbs, cooked in butter and used to flavour soups, sauces, and stuffing.
  • Foie Gras: The liver of a goose that has been specially fattened.
  • Fondue: Term is used to describe melted cheese used for dipping other ingredients.
  • Fricassee: A stew of white meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables with a white or velouté sauce.
  • Galette: Round, thin cake or savory pancake.
  • Galantine: Boned chicken, turkey, duck, or game bird or a boned breast of veal, stuffed, rolled, tied, and poached. Served cold.
  • Gratin: Browned crust formed on top of foods from intense heat from above.
  • Madeleine: It is a very small shell shaped cake.
  • Quiche: A savoury egg custard. The most famous version is quiche Lorraine made with cheese, ham, or bacon and sometimes onions.
  • Ragout: A slow-cooked stew that is not thickened.
  • Ratatouille: Traditional stewed vegetable dish of France, made with zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, peppers, and garlic.
  • Vol-au-vent: Round case of puff pastry.

Important Terms

Þ Bleu: A method of cooking trout in a vinegar-flavored court bouillon. Fresh-killed trout take on a bluish tinge.

Þ Cassolettes: Containers made from pastry or vegetables such as cucumber.

Þ Galette: Any sweet or savory mixture that is shaped in a flat round.

Þ Meuniere: The term used to describe sautéing fish in butter and completing the dish with meuniere butter—butter cooked to a nut-brown color, flavored with fresh chopped herbs and lemon juice.

Þ Salpicon: Mixture of ingredients that have been cut into shreds or strips, often bound with a rich white or brown sauce.

Amit Kumar
Amit Kumarhttps://hmhelp.in
Hii! Welcome to My digital home, I am Amit – an almost no-code generalist, helping businesses with their online presence using WordPress and other tools and simplifying some of their operations with ideas and automation. A psychology and philosophy geek by interest and a graduate in Hospitality Management. I founded hmhelp during college, which got me into WordPress. I am a highly motivated and results-oriented professional with a proven track record of success in the hospitality industry. I’m also a Digital Marketing Enthusiast with significant academic and practical experience managing digital content across multiple platforms. Skilled at SEO optimization, developing digital content for social media platforms, I offer extensive knowledge of multiple software programs, strong attention to detail, and extraordinary communication skills. If you are interested in talking about any of the topics I have mentioned on my website, you are in the right place. You can contact me or learn more about what I do. You can also connect with me on social networks.

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