Traditional Food France
Famous French Foods,
French Regional Food,
Famous French Dishes

There are many types of French Cuisine to enjoy in France, depending on what you can spend, where you are, and what you feel like eating. The most elaborate style of cooking, haute cuisine ("OAT kwee-ZEEN"), descrihes the grand meal of many courses served by top restaurants.
The hearty meals cooked at home for a family are known as cuisine bourgeoise, which overlaps with cuisine regionale ("ray-zhuh-NAHL,"). or regional cooking dishes made from locally available ingredients served in the provinces. In certain restaurants, the chef offers a set menu with many courses of fairly small portions, giving a sampler of the chef's specialties and the best foods of the season and the region.

Nouvelle ("noo-VELL'-) cuisine refers to a recent trend among French chefs to serve lighter food with little or no butter, cream, or flour in the sauces. Food is arranged artistically on the plate, which may he decorated with edible flowers. Meats and vegetables are rather undercooked. The low calorie dishes of minceur("man-SOOR") were created in an attempt to fuse dieting and weight control with fine French cooking.

Regional French Food

Different regions of France are famous for unique and special foods that come from that area only, and for regional styles of cooking. Regional recipes are often passed down from one generation on family stoves and in the kitchens of inns and restaurants throughout the provinces. The highly prized ingredients and distinctive styles of regional cuisines can also be sampled in Paris, which, like any other cosmopolitan city, offers a wide variety of foods. However, the prices of regional dishes are much higher in Paris than in the provinces. The French people enjoy seeking good regional cooking in the provinces where the ducks are actually fattened, the fish caught, or the truffles unearthed. There are foods of almost unlimited variety and thousands of ways to prepare them throughout France. Some French foods that may be unfamiliar to foreigners include sea urchins, eel, snails, brains, kidneys, the entire calf's head, pig's trotters, little birds like woodcock and thrush, and all kinds of wild game. In general, the cooking of northern France is based on butter, while southern French cooking uses olive oil, as does neighboring Italy. One of the most famous regional foods of France, pate de foie gras ("pah-TAY duh FWAH GRAH"), the famous liver spread made from specially fattened ducks or geese, comes from Perigord in Southwestern France and also from Alsace. The waters of the Channel and the Atlantic Coast yield many varieties of mussels, oysters, and fish. From Provence come olives and herbs -bay leaf, fennel, rosemary, and thyme. Excellent pork dishes (hams. pates, terrines, and sausages-known collectively as cbarcuterie) differ from one region of France to another. A famous white or pink chewy candy filled with chopped almonds and cherries, called nougat ("NOO-gah"), comes from the town of Montelimar. Dijon exports several styles of mustard. Privas near Lyon produces marrons glaces("mah-ROHN glah-SAY"), a delicacy of candied chestnuts. The region of Burgundy is knowm for snails, Cavaillon for melons, and Normandy for butter, cream, cheese, and sparkling cider. French foods lovers and foreign tourists travel to Mont Saint Michel in Normandy to sample the famous local omelets. They seek the finest bouillabaisse (“boo-ya-BESS"), a fragrant fish stew, in Marseille. They head west to Toulouse to sample the perfect cassoulet ("kah-soo-LAY"), a complex casserole of white beans, lamb, pork, sausage, and poultry. The origin of many a recipe is revealed in its name: frog legs provencal, from the province of Provence; salad nicoise, with olives, anchovies, tomatoes, and tuna, from the city of Nice; beef bourguignon, beef stew with onions and mushrooms simmered in red wine, from the province of Burgundy: quiche lorraine, a custard tart with bacon and cheese, from the province of Lorraine; calf's head a la lyonnaise, with chopped onions and parsley as served in the city of Lyon; and veal a la normande, made with cream and Calvados apple brandy of Normandy. Provencal dishes often contain onions, garlic, tomatoes, and olives. An Alsatian dish, on the other hand, probably has sauerkraut somewhere in the recipe, and is washed down with beer instead of wine. Perigoudine ("pay-ree-gohr-DEEN'') means there are luscious and expensive black truffles from Perigord in the sauce. The cheeses of France often bear the name of the town where they are made, such as the world famous blue veined Roquefort made from ewe's milk and ripened in caves. France is known for Camembert, Brie, Port Salut ("POR sah-LEWH"), and more than 300 other kinds of cheeses, many of which are exported. The various cheeses made from goats' milk are called chevres ("SHEVR").

Extract from “Cultures Of The World France”, Written by Etbel Caro Gofen. Times Editions Pte Ltd, Singapore: 1999.

French food is back with a vengeance. French cuisine has evolved into a less pretentious version of its older self. The new French cuisine, or Nouvelle Cuisine, is more accessible and comes in many varieties, including bistro food, brasserie style and the ultimate in luxury food, haute cuisine. French cuisine is fresh and creative, and a lot more simple than it was in the past. French cuisine is often experimental, but the of the food continues to skyrocket. Basically, the French have gone back to their regional roots and brought a modern version of traditional French cooking. Unlike the sophisticated plates of the past, French food now fits into the public's desire for "real food". But real food is not just about traditional mum's-cooking type of dishes. People want traditional foods and flavors with a distinct contemporary feel. People want the old packaged and presented in a new way. The new French cuisine is exactly this. Frog's legs are still being served in abundance, but the new French cuisine is also influenced by what is going on outside of France. French food is now transformed by influences from the South American, Asian, Italian and American cuisines. Chefs creating the new French cuisine are incorporating ideas picked up from their travels around the world. These days chefs are knowledgeable of the characteristics of cuisines around the world and can use elements of various cultures in creating their own new cuisine. The result? The new French cuisine is creative and classical. The new French cuisine is both traditional and contemporary. French cuisine is the amazingly high standard to which all other native cuisines must live up to. The country of France is home of some of the finest cuisine in the world, and it is created by some of the finest master chefs in the world. The French people take excessive pride in cooking and knowing how to prepare a good meal. Cooking is an essential part of their culture, and it adds to one's usefulness if they are capable of preparing a good meal. Each of the four regions of France has a characteristic of its food all its own. French food in general requires the use of lots of different types of sauces and gravies, but recipes for cuisine that originated in the northwestern region of France tend to require the use a lot of apple ingredients, milk and cream, and they tend to be heavily buttered making for an extremely rich (and sometimes rather heavy) meal. Southeastern French cuisine is reminiscent of German food, heavy in lard and meat products such as pork sausage and sauerkraut. On the other hand, southern French cuisine tends to be a lot more widely accepted; this is generally the type of French food that is served in traditional French restaurants. In the southeastern area of France, the cooking is a lot lighter in fat and substance. Cooks from the southeast of France tend to lean more toward the side of a light olive oil more than any other type of oil, and they rely heavily on herbs and tomatoes, as well as tomato-based products, in their culinary creations. Cuisine Nouvelle is a more contemporary form of French cuisine that developed in the late 1970s, the offspring of traditional French cuisine. This is the most common type of French food, served in French restaurants. Cuisine Nouvelle can generally be characterized by shorter cooking times, smaller food portions, and more festive, decorative plate presentations. Many French restaurant cuisines can be classified as Cuisine Nouvelle, but the more traditional French restaurant cuisine would be classified as Cuisine du Terroir, a more general form of French cooking than Cuisine Nouvelle. Cuisine du Terroir is an attempt to return to the more indigenous forms of French cooking, especially with reference to regional differences between the north and south, or different areas such as the Loire Valley, Catalonia, and Rousillon. These are all areas famous for their specific specialty of French cuisine. As time has progressed, the difference between a white wine from the Loire Valley and a wine from another area has slowly diminished, and the Cuisine du Terroir approach to French cooking focuses on establishing special characteristics between regions such as this. As part of their culture, the French incorporate wine into nearly every meal, whether it is simply as a refreshment or part of the recipe for the meal itself. Even today, it is a part of traditional French culture to have at least one glass of wine on a daily basis.

French Food | French Regional Food | Cabbage Galette Recipe | Fish Recipe | Spinach Gnocchi Recipe | Tuna Salad Recipe