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France | What is French cuisine like?

| Monika Kraska |

When you visit France – whether purely for leisure or perhaps, you plan to settle here permanently – you will come across the local cuisine. Positive reviews about it circulate the world, and in 2010 UNESCO recognized it as a representative intangible cultural heritage of humanity. What are its secrets, and what is French cuisine like?

Secrets of French cuisine

French cuisine has earned its good reputation for a reason. First of all, the French focus on the quality of ingredients. All the products they use to cook their dishes are always fresh and properly selected. A self-respecting French chef will not use ingredients of questionable quality for his dishes – only those of the highest quality from a trusted vendor.

French cuisine is not spicy, so any fan of mild dishes sure will enjoy it. The flavors of French dishes are always brought out with herbs: both fresh and dried. However, they must not dominate the food but only help it. The most commonly used throughout France are basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and tarragon. A slightly more intense flavor is characteristic of Provençal cuisine – here mainly mixtures of herbs with marjoram, oregano, and even sage and mint are used. 

Speaking of the secrets of French cuisine, one should not forget about wines. Although they are not always involved in the cooking process itself, when properly selected for a given dish, they help bring out its maximum flavor potential.

How do the French eat?

Le petit déjeuner – is the breakfast with which the people of France start each day. It is often sweet and takes the form of a pastry, a warm roll with butter, a croissant, or toast with jam. It often comes along with coffee or hot chocolate – and gets French people ready for the rest of the day.

Between 12 – 2 pm in France is lunchtime. The main course (le déjeuner) is generally prepared with eggs, cheese, fish, or meat. Sometimes it is served with appetizers, but always obligatorily with dessert. 

Starting at 8 pm, le diner – dinner – is served. It is considered the main meal of the day. A French dinner consists of three courses: a starter (salad, soup, or terrine), the main course (meat or fish with side dishes), and French cheese or dessert.

Cuisine of France

France takes meals very seriously. Every feast is a ceremony that involves celebrating moments spent around the table with loved ones. On weekends, whole families can be spotted in restaurants feasting and enjoying the opportunity to be in common – it’s part of French culture. The whole thing is a beautiful tradition cherished for generations.