French Cuisine

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 at 12:00 am

french cuisine filet mignonConsidered as one of the world’s most elegant styles of cooking, French cuisine is known for its classical and provincial styles. The majority of the world’s greatest chefs such as Escoffier, La Varenne, Bocuse, Taillevent and Carême were experts in this type of cuisine. Because of the influences that this type of cuisine has had on Western cuisine, French cooking has become a basis for most of all the types of Western cooking.

This type of cooking is considered to be extremely diverse and very varied. Tradition has it that each region of France has its own unique brand of cuisine. The cuisine from southeast France uses olive oil, tomatoes, herbs and is mainly recognized by its Spanish, Italian and Catalan influences.

French cuisine from eastern France consists of sausages, sauerkraut, beer and lard. This type of cuisine shows evidences of German influences. The southwest cuisine of France feature duck fat, porcini mushrooms, gizzards and foie gras. Northwestern French cuisine features butter, cream and apples while that of northern France uses endives, potatoes, pork and beer which draws its roots from Flemish influences.

For France, there are more than these five prominent areas. The local cuisines of the different regions have their own distinct taste. There are segregations of cuisine which are found in the Loire Valley, Roussillon which has Catalan cuisine influences and Basque cuisine.

The different regional differences are generally distinguished when one is able to travel across the country to try the cuisines that the culture of France has to offer. The way the food is served is quite diverse as well as the manner by which they are cooked. French consumers have begun to experience a revival because of the current focus on their local cuisines.

The "haute cuisine" is the general type of cuisine that people are more familiar with. This type of cuisine is elaborately prepared and is served in restaurants at very expensive prices. This particular type of cuisine is generally influenced by the regional types of cuisines that have been derived from Lyon and the northern regions of France but changed slightly in order to refine them.

The general population of France does not really eat this type of cuisine because as a rule of thumb, the younger people are more inclined to eat the food from neighboring regions as well as foreign countries while the older generation of the country eat the regional cuisine of which they are part of.

Besides these five general areas, there are many more local cuisines, such as Loire Valley cuisine, Basque cuisine and the cuisine of Roussillon, which is similar to Catalan cuisine. With the movements of population of contemporary life, such regional differences are less noticeable than they used to be, but they are still clearly marked, and one traveling across France will notice significant changes in the ways of cooking and the dishes served.

Moreover, recent focus of French consumers on local, countryside food products means that the regional cuisines are experiencing a strong revival in the early 21st century, especially as the slow food movement is gaining popularity.

Essentially, French regional cuisine includes vegetables which have been locally grown such as potatoes, leeks, eggplants, zucchinis ("courgette" to the French), carrots, mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, truffles, porcinis and green beans. The different fruits that they normally include are peaches, apples, cherries, tomatoes, pears, strawberries, blackberries, oranges, redcurrants, plums and raspberries.