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Culinary Traditions Of France

by Kirsten Hawkins

Copyright 2005

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.

About The Author: Kirsten Hawkins is a food and nutrition

expert specializing the Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food.

Visit for more information

on cooking delicious and healthy meals.

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