18 May 2012
French Food and Traditions
Creamy cheeses, steaming bread, the scent of olive oil and pepper in the air, and warm sugar dusted pastries that melt on your tongue are just some of the things that describe the food in France. In many ways, understanding the food is understanding France itself. The French take pride in their cooking. In France, it is said the way you prepare and serve your meal reflects upon you and your family. France has set the bar in terms of high culinary standards.
Some of France’s traditional dishes can be dated back to the fifteenth century, where dishes were decorated lavishly to hide the use of rotting food in the homes of the rich. Later on, food was decorated and flavored not to hide the rotting food, but to emphasize the flavors of the regional food (Lowen 36).
In France, there are many different types of cooking, due to the geographical differences of the country. In the Northwestern regions, they specialize in fruit, and in dairy. In the Southeastern region, the main foods they use are heavy meat and lard, due to the close proximity to Germany. Northern regions usually have more wheat, cheese, and
beer. The Southern region serves more herbs, olive oil, tomatoes, and spices, which is cuisine du terrior, more traditional cooking (France and Their French Culinary Traditions). In the many regions of France, along with different cooking styles, there are regional wines. The French produce around seven to eight billion bottles a year. France is the second largest wine producer, behind Spain (French Wine). In Alsace, Eastern France, white wines are produced in bulk there. Additionally, in Eastern France, Beaujolais, is primarily a red wine region. In Champagne, North Eastern France, sparkling wines are produced there, along with some rose, and white (French Wine). There are over fifty different wine regions, each with a wine they specialize in. Wine is served throughout the day, with every meal. Children start drinking wine around the age of thirteen with their meals. Younger children also join in, but their wine is diluted with water. Typically a red wine is served at the end of the meal with a platter of cheeses, to signal the end of the meal.
In France, there are three hundred to four hundred distinct types of cheeses grouped into eight categories, les huit familles de fromage (List of French Cheeses). The cheeses are made with different milk to give it different flavors. The most popular are cow, ewe, and goat milk. The animal milk gives the cheeses different flavors based upon the animal’s diet, and because each animal has a different protein and acidic combination. Cheeses also get different flavors by the environment in which they are produced. It is said that each person in France consumes about forty-five pounds of cheese every year.
France is said to be the “Cheese Capital of the World” (List of French Cheeses). Cheese is a staple part of everyday life in France.
Breakfast in France is a light meal, consisting of a small platter of fresh fruit from the local farmers market, a small tartine, which is half a buttered baguette, with your choice of jams or jellies to dip them in (Culinary Ambassadors-Breakfast in France). Also at the breakfast table, one can find hot chocolate for the children and hot espressos for the adults. Drinks that are normally reserved for winter, however, the French enjoy them all year round.
Lunch is taken very seriously in France. Most lunch breaks are two hours long! Normally, lunch starts at eleven and ends at one. Most Southern businesses take longer breaks, due to the Mediterranean being right there; they might fish, or take a swim before returning to work for the afternoon (France Property and Information). The lunch time food will normally depend on the region, because most meals in France consist of fresh and local ingredients.
Dinner in France is the most important meal of...