For French people, meeting at the table is something more than just a way to satiate hunger. Eating together, as well as the customs and rituals that accompany it, are a perfect opportunity for exchanging ideas and opinions. No wonder that France’s traditional gastronomic meal entered the list of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
French cuisine is valued all over the world. Who does not know French cheeses, pâtés, tarts, onion soup or crème brûlée! Dishes such as snails and frog legs are also famous. It is in France that high-quality wines, champagnes and liqueurs are produced. The most famous wines come from Bordeaux, where each year in November a festival of young Beaujolais wine takes place.
The extraordinary diversity of flavours results from the specificity of 13 regions, each of which focuses on local products that are dependent on geographical and climatic conditions. And so, meat dishes and stews are popular in the cold north. Fish and pancakes rule in Brittany, while in Normandy you can taste apples and cider, as well as seafood. In Burgundy, when drinking some fine wine, it is worth ordering boeuf Bourguignon or rooster stewed in wine. Excellent cheeses, sausages and hams are produced in Auvergne. In the south, dishes with the addition of aromatic herbs, e.g. Herbes de Provence, are served. It is worth to try bouillabaisse – a fish and seafood soup, which is a showcase of the southern regions.
THE POWER OF TRADITION
French culinary traditions are extremely strong. The oldest preserved recipe books come from the Middle Ages and were written for court cooks. Over time, cooking has been hoisted to the rank of art, and culinary masters are no less famous than movie stars. It is in France that renowned schools, such as the Parisian Le Cordon Bleu and Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon are located. Festivals devoted to local products organized in many regions of France, such as Bayonne ham, pink garlic, onion or St James shells are popular among the gourmets. An important role in promoting the French cuisine in the world is played by Goût de France, the international holiday of French taste.
WINE FROM BORDEAUX
Bordeaux are first and foremost wines that have their own holiday. This year, the wine festival will last 3 days (from 20 to 23 June 2019) as part of the Bordeaux River Festival. During the event, you can enjoy wines from 80 appellations of the Bordeaux and Aquitaine regions. Moreover, the programme includes trips to vineyards and culinary workshops. Numerous local specialties, including foie gras, oysters or Basque ham, will also be served at numerous food stands.
LYON – THE CULINARY HEART OF FRANCE
When in the city, it is worth visiting one of the many restaurants in order to try excellent quiche or chicken stuffed with truffles or stewed in wine. Lyonnais sausages with the addition of spices are also popular. Another excellent product is local cheese, such as tomme de Savoie, saintmarcelin and bleu de Bresse. And what about drinking? You should definitely try a glass of wine from the local vineyard and a glass of herb chartreuse liqueur.
LOURDES – AT THE FOOT OF THE PYRENEES
In the local cuisine, you can find the influences of the highlanders and Spanish dishes. It includes simple one-pot meals, like cassoulet – consisting of Tarbais bean, and meats stewed in a clay or cast iron pot, with the addition of fresh herbs .You should also try trout, Pyrenean chestnuts, pink meat of the local variety of hens or the so-called black pork.
PASTIS AND SEAFOOD
Marseille is famous for its delicious soup bouillabaisse made from various species of sea fish and seafood. One should emphasize soupe au pistou – a light vegetable soup with basil, garlic and olive oil. It is also worth to try local pastries, e.g. fougasse – sweet bread with sweet or dry additions. Panisse, baked or fried pieces of cake made from chickpea flour are also popular. For better digestion, it is good to drink the anise liquor Pastis. Marseille Provence Gastronomy 2019 – is the year of gastronomy in Provence (www.myprovence.fr). During this yearround event culinary demonstrations, marketplaces and gastronomic cultural events will take place.