French cuisine is reputed to be the finest in the world and has greatly influenced the cooking methods of western cultures. Regional cuisine reflects traditional recipes where different cooking styles and ingredients are used, such as the use of butter in the north and olive oil in the south.
Different types of cuisine
The variety of food eaten by French people can be realized by following the 4 course meal that usually take place on the French table. Bread and wine are always present and the meal consist of the “entrée” or opening meal, the “Plat principal” or main course meal. The “Fromage” or cheese meal follows next, itself followed by the Dessert dish.
There are five main types of bread known to the French eater.
- Pain de champagne – the bread, known as country bread or French Sourdough is a large round bread made from rye instead of wheat flour.
- Brioche – a puffy loaf cause by the use of a large amount of eggs and butter and also brandy and sugar to accentuate taste.
- Baguette – a famous crisp bread prepared from ordinary lean dough, having a length of 26 inches and a diameter of 2 to 2.5 inches, used mainly for making sandwiches and served with cheese, dunked in coffee or chocolate.
- Boule – a loaf that looks like a squeezed ball prepared from any type of flour. Traditionally, it has a soft inner part and a crunchy crust and can be made in different sizes.
- Croissants – these are made from ordinary dough, eggs, butter, sugar and milk and are eaten as an entrée. They are similar to a puff pastry.
- Quiche Lorraine – a pie filled with custard, cheese, meat an/or vegetables. It originated from Germany but has now become a French dish.
- French onion soup – called Soupe à l’oignan in French and consists of onion, broth and meat. It had its origins in Roman times as fare for the poor but has gained a place as a national entrée dish.
- Duchesse(s) Potatoes – a classic breakfast dish with a shape similar to a meringue. They are seasoned and baked with egg yolk and butter.
- Beef Bourguignon – similar to a stew dish with the meat marinated in red Burgandy wine mixed with beef broth, bouquet gami, onions and garlic.
- Bouillabaisse – a typical Marseille fish stew dish which combines five species made up of the scorpion fish, shellfish, sea robin and European conger.
- Cassoulet – a slow cooking casserole dish coming from the south of France with pork, sausages, duck or goose but rarely mutton, simmered on the fire.
- Cog au vin – one of the most famous French foods, featuring braised chicken prepared in Burgundy wine and cooked with mushrooms and lardons.
- Camembert – The cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk and ripened by fungi for 3 weeks before it is cut into manageable circular sizes. It is often eaten raw with wine, meat and bread.
- Brie – this cheese hails from the Ile-de-France region. It is also made from cow’s milk. It is pale in colour with an outer white layer of mold. It is usually served with coffee or as a breakfast meal.
- Roquefort – this is a blue cheese made from sheep’s milk and is native to the region of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon.
- Valencay – a cheese from the Berry province made from unpasteurized goat’s milk. Its texture is soft. The blue colour comes from the action of molds while maturing.
Cheese is particularly good in Northern France due to ideal weather conditions for the grass that feeds the cows…
Desserts and pastries
- Crème Brûlée – the dessert is traditional with a vanilla flavor.
- Madelaine – shell-shaped sponge cakes made from flour, eggs, almonds and sugar.
- Éclair – a pastry made from choux dough and cylindrical in shape with cream filling and topped with icing.
- Tarte Tatin – a tart dish made from fruits, butter and sugar.