Running the gamut from traditional to fusion cuisine, French food has developed into a lively mix of sophisticated and comforting fare that keeps its fans coming back for more. Traditional cuisine regularly recruits new and brave diners who are passionate about their food. French cuisines have also had a great impact on western cooking styles with many traditional dishes and techniques being utilised in global kitchens.
French Culinary History
The hallmark of traditional French cuisines is its great diversity, variety, quality and use of renowned culinary techniques. A staple of French menus are top quality cheeses and wines which have remained a part of life for generations. Original haute cuisine excluded an entire spectrum of traditional recipes and food traditions of the rural French.
As decades went by these rural cuisines began to be incorporated into French menus. French cuisines are still regional in nature with dishes being peculiar to certain areas of France. This is influenced in large part by the climate, culture and agriculture practised in these provinces.
In northeast Lorraine, beer and sauerkraut appear among more traditional French cuisines due to German cultural influences on this region. Of course tomatoes, olive oil and herbal accompaniments feature widely in French Mediterranean recipes and locally grown apples, crème fraiche and butter based dishes are more common in northwestern France. Cookery in southern France makes use of the fruits and vegetables which are more abundant in the area.
Seafood is common on French menus, especially along the Atlantic coastline and Mediterranean regions. In central areas, lake or river caught fish are popular choices.
French Culinary Styles
The three main culinary styles of cuisine bourgeoise (traditional peasant cooking), haute cuisine and cuisine nouvelle are very disparate with the more traditional and sophisticated haute cuisine having being replaced by the lighter nouvelle style of cookery in some circles.
Of course we must not forget the Frenchman’s adoration of coffee (usually in the form of espresso) baguettes and desserts. While these are not usually very heavy, a meal is generally not considered complete without a cake or fruit dessert and we wholeheartedly support that fine tradition.
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