One of modern France's greatest treasures is its rich cuisine. The French have an ongoing love affair with food. Families still gather together for the Sunday midday feast, which is eaten leisurely through a number of appetizers and main courses. Most French meals are accompanied by wine.

French cuisine is divided into classic French cuisine (haute cuisine) and provincial or regional cuisine. Classic French cuisine is elegant and formal and is mostly prepared in restaurants and catered at parties. More simple meals are usually prepared at home. Buttery, creamy sauces characterize classic French cuisine in the west, northwest, and north-central regions. The area surrounding Paris in the north-central region is the home of classic

French cuisine. The area produces great wine, cheese, beef, and veal. Fish and seafood are abundant in the northern region, and the famous Belon oysters are shipped throughout France. Apples are grown in this region and apple brandy and apple cider are widely exported. Normandy is known for its rich dairy products, and its butter and cheeses are among the best in the world. The Champagne district is located in the northernmost region, bordering Belgium and the English Channel, and is world-renowned for its sparkling wines. Only those produced in this region can be legally called "champagne" in France.

German cuisine has influenced French cuisine in the east and northeast parts of the country. Beer, sausage, sauerkraut, and goose are very popular, for example (goose fat is used for cooking). Famous dishes from these regions include quiche Lorraine and goose liver paté (pâté de fois gras). The south of France borders the Mediterranean Sea, and the cuisine in this region is similar to that of Spain and Italy. Olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and fresh vegetables are all widely used. Famous dishes from this region are black truffeles, ratatouille, salade Niçoise, and bouillabaisse.

The French eat three meals a day and rarely eat snacks. They usually eat a light continental breakfast consisting of a baguette (French bread) or croissant with butter or jam. Strong coffee with hot milk accompanies breakfast (sometimes hot chocolate). Lunch is the largest meal of the day. Wine is drunk with lunch and dinner, and coffee is served after both meals. France is also known for its exquisite desserts such as crème brûlée and chocolate mousse. see also Central Europeans and Russia, Diets of; French Paradox; Scandinavians, Diet of.

Delores C. S. James


Kittler, P. G., and Sucher, K. P. (2001). Food and Culture, 3rd edition. Stamford, CT: Wadsworth.

Internet Resources

Frommer's. "Great Britain." Available from <>

Diners Digest. "English Food." Available from < england.html>

Linnane, John (2000). "A History of Irish Cuisine." Available from <http://www.>

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