French cuisine : What is French Cuisine?

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"French cuisine is the art of preparing, cooking, and presenting food in a manner that is characteristic of French culture and cuisine.

Historically, France has been famous for its gastronomy. Food is essential in the life of a French person, and it has been for centuries. In fact, in 1873, the world's first culinary school was created in France. French cuisine is considered one of the best cuisines in the world. You have to try so many delicious dishes before leaving France.

French cuisine is known for its elaborate preparation and presentation. Chefs spend years learning how to perfect each dish and create new ones. The recipes are often passed down from generation to generation, and there are thousands of them. Even though many people think that French cuisine only consists of baguettes, cheese, and wine, it is much more than that. There are so many foods you have to try while in France!

 

Bourgeois Cuisine

The "bourgeoise cuisine" is a term used to describe France's traditional, famous cuisine. It is accessible to all and does not require special equipment or complicated techniques. The bourgeois kitchen is a family kitchen for daily use and the festivities of life.

  • Bourgeoise Cuisine can also be called home cooking or comfort food. The daily preparations come to mind first: a roast chicken, apple tart, leg of lamb with green beans, mushroom quiche, or chocolate cake. We have had dishes since childhood and which we continue to cook as adults.
  • Bourgeois cuisine is often confused with haute cuisine (gourmet cuisine). Still, it has nothing to do with it: Although both involve traditional French recipes, haute cuisine is much more elaborate, more sophisticated, and reserved for special occasions.

 

Haute Cuisine

Haute cuisine (French: [ot kɥizin], "high cuisine") is the cuisine of "high-level" establishments, gourmet restaurants, and luxury hotels. Haute cuisine is characterized by meticulous preparation and careful food presentation at a high price level.

Haute cuisine developed out of political and social changes in France, and the high cuisine represents a hierarchy in French society. In addition to who was eating the food, what was served, where it was served? When it was served were equally essential resonances.


  • To eat haute cuisine is to be treated with utmost elegance in a prestigious setting.
  • The term may refer to the cooking styles of Europe's grandest courts and the dishes served there, or it may refer to the contemporary cooking style popularized by Escoffier and Vatel. 
  • In France during the seventeenth century, chefs started to consolidate their expertise into cooking schools and were appointed as personal cooks to wealthy individuals and royalty. Before this period, the chef had been personal servants to wealthy families. Vatel was one such chef who became a celebrity for his meticulous preparation of meals for noblemen in 17th century France.

Haute cuisine is not only concerned with the quality of food but also with presentation and service. 

 

What is the difference between fine dining and Haute Cuisine?

Fine dining is the overall dining experience. It is a term used to describe a pleasant and luxurious dining experience. Fine dining also focuses on high-quality food, formal service, elegant presentation, and a sophisticated atmosphere.

Haute cuisine is more of a style of cooking. It is a type of cooking that emphasizes fresh and local high-quality foods prepared using classic techniques. Food ingredients are usually sourced locally to ensure freshness and are cooked using time-honored methods (French cooking).

 

Novella Cuisine

Nouvelle cuisine is a reaction to France's heavier, more prosperous and more traditional cuisine. It is characterized by smaller food portions with less butter and cream, more sauces, lighter flavors, and the freshest ingredients available.

Nouvelle cuisine was invented in Paris in the 1960s as a reaction to the heavy, rich traditional French cooking that had become famous worldwide. Some leading chefs felt that this cooking style was too rich and stodgy for modern tastes, so they created a new style of lighter, fresher, and more delicate than traditional French cooking.

 

There are three main characteristics of Nouvelle Cuisine:

  1. Smaller portions: Traditional French cooking gives you large portions of food on your plate. In contrast, nouvelle cuisine gives you small portions. It means that instead of having one piece of meat or fish on your plate, you might have four or five smaller pieces.
  2. Less butter and cream: The traditional way to make sauces for French cooking involves adding lots of butter and cream at the end to thicken it up. Nouvelle cuisine does not use any butter or cream in its sauces, so they tend to be thinner than traditional sauces.
  3. Fresh ingredients: Nouvelle cuisine uses only fresh; the fresh ingredients of Nouvelle cuisine are fresh, light, and flavorful. The food is cooked lightly to preserve the natural flavors. Sauces are the lightest possible, sometimes almost runny.

 

French National Cuisine

French national cuisine is characterized by its extreme complexity and richness. French cuisine is based on the seasons and emphasizes a balance between fresh products from land and sea in its most refined form. The primary cooking methods are sautéing, braising, roasting, and grilling.

Some dishes have become so popular throughout France that they can be considered national dishes — for example, Blanquette de veau (veal stew) and Cassoulet (a rich bean-based casserole). The same is true for Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, or Alsace wines.

 

 

 

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The foundation of every French meal is quality produce:

Bread: French bread varies enormously depending on the region. Most popular are baguettes and ficelle (a thinner version).

Cheese: There are more than 400 varieties of cheese in France. It is often served as a course in itself, accompanied by bread or fruit or flavor other dishes.

Meat: Prime cuts of meat include entrecôte (beef), côte de boeuf (rib steak), filet mignon (tenderloin) and roast veal or beef with mustard sauce.

 

French Regional Cuisine

The regional cuisine of France is characterized by its extreme diversity. The French are proud of the fine ingredients and techniques employed in their kitchens, and each region has a distinct gastronomic identity. Thanks to the country's many regions and local pride, no typical French recipe represents the whole country.

 

Specialties of French Cuisine with changing Seasons

  • Spring
  • Asparagus and new potatoes are eaten all over France, but the crayfish of Corsica and the sea snails of Normandy are specialties of those regions.

  • Summer
  • A classic dish is a vichyssoise, a creamy potato soup served cold, often with a handful of fresh raw vegetables on top. The main ingredient in ratatouille is eggplant (aubergine), a vegetable that overgrows in the south of France. Zucchini (courgette) is another vegetable that features prominently in French cuisine, particularly in summer when it is plentiful.

  • Fall
  • The distinct flavor of pumpkin comes from the high content of carotene and other carotenoids.

  • Winter
  • As with most countries, some cold-weather dishes include beef stew — boeuf bourguignon being an example — and pork sausages roasted with apples or pears. Game meats are also popular, especially venison (chevreuil), wild boar (sanglier), rabbit (lapin) and hare (lièvre).

     

    A comprehensive guide to Beverage and Drink terms in French Cuisine:

    • Le café: Café (coffee) is the most popular drink in France. There are many types of coffee, but the most popular ones are:
    • Un café (a short black coffee).
    • Un café allongé (a long black coffee).
    • Un café noisette (an espresso with a dash of steamed milk).
    • Un cappuccino.
    • Café au lait is similar to a café latte, and a grand crème is a large latte.
    • L’espresso and Le cappuccino: Le thé (tea) is also very popular, but unlike the British, who often take their tea with milk, the French take theirs with sugar. Un petit thé means a small cup of tea, while un thé allongé is an infusion of tea served with hot water.
    • Un thé vert is a cup of green tea and un chocolat chaud is hot chocolate. Un Chocolat viennois is hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. Many different herbal teas or infusions, such as lime blossom tea and verbena or lemon verbena.

    Coffee is served straight up in small cups, with no milk or cream. Hot beverages are served with a carafe of hot water on the side to dilute them if you wish. 

    The world has adopted this philosophy, and in turn, French cuisine has influenced cultures around the globe. Italian chef Massimo Bottura has even said that without France, "there would be no Italian cuisine."


    What makes French Cuisine Unique?

    French cuisine is one of the most popular globally, but what makes it so distinctive? Well, for starters, it's a lot more than just croissants and baguettes.

    French cuisine is one of the classic cuisines that have formed over the centuries. It has been developed by chefs for centuries, with some dishes dating back to the Middle Ages. The cuisine is based on fresh seasonal local produce, served in a wide variety of ways, and accompanied by fine wines from the many vineyards around France. There are several regional variations on the basic cooking style practiced in French restaurants.

    • One of the main characteristics of French cooking is sauces to enhance flavor. Butter and cream are used generously in many dishes, and sauces are often rich and creamy due to egg yolks and cream being used to thicken them. 
    • Some traditional French sauces include hollandaise sauce, typically served with asparagus, béchamel sauce, which is made by making a roux with butter and flour. Then add milk or cream while stirring until thickened; beurre blanc sauce, which is made by whisking together butter and white wine vinegar; bordelaise sauce, made with red wine; bourguignonne.
    • French cuisine is more than just a meal. It is a dining experience that takes you on a gastronomical journey through each of your senses. 

    It's no secret that French culture holds a special place in their life for food, and it's hard not to see why when you've tasted France's finest culinary delights. Every meal is made with love and care, from the morning croissants to the evening wine tasting.

    There's not just one cooking style in France; instead, there are many regional variations of French cuisine, but they all share the same ethos of using fresh seasonal ingredients and letting the flavors speak for themselves.

     

    This can be seen in French gastronomy's three main principles:

    1.       La Cuisine Bourgeoise

    France has a long history of chefs cooking for generations of wealthy families, especially in Paris. The bourgeois cookery style uses more decadent ingredients such as cream and butter to create rich and delicious meals that have been perfected over time. This type of cuisine still influences how food is produced in France today.



    1.       La nouvelle Cuisine

    The 'new cuisine' movement came about in the 1960s, and La nouvelle cuisine is a style of cooking that emphasizes fresh ingredients and light sauces that draw out the natural flavor of food. La nouvelle cuisine is characterized by smaller portions, more vegetables, and fewer starches.

     

    Christmas French Cuisine

    Christmas is a joyous occasion, and the best part of it is that you get to spend time with your family, eat and give gifts. In France, many traditional Christmas dishes bring the family together.

    The French have many unique dishes, and here are some of them:

    1) Foie Gras

    Foie gras is a dish made out of the liver. It usually consists of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. The dish is first mentioned in the literature in 1782 by Menon in his book L'Art de la cuisine française au dix-huitième siècle.

    2) Bûche de Noël

    The bûche de Noël is a Christmas cake tradition in France. It takes the form of a log, about the Yule log that used to be burnt throughout Christmas time as per tradition.

    3) Entrecote Bordelaise

    Entrecote Bordelaise is an entrecote (rib steak) with a sauce made from red wine, bone marrow, shallots, and butter. The sauce may also contain other ingredients such as rosemary or thyme, and sometimes garlic and mushrooms are added to other foods.


    So what makes French cuisine so unique? The answer lies in the centuries of history behind it. The French are aware of their culinary heritage, and they take great pride in it. And that's a good thing because French food culture is something to be proud of.

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