The food of France
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These notes were made during a few weeks trip to France. These are just our food experiences and you may have a totally different experience depending on your budget, where you travel and where you eat.
Notes from July 2005
It is amazing the amount of French cuisine that is infiltrated into Australian eating. Consomme, boullion, aparetif, hors-d'oeuvre, entree, ragout, crepes, aioli, bearnaise, julliene, bisque, bechamel, hollandaise, fondue, crem caramel, gateau, souffle, bob appetit ... the list goes on. Eating commonly involved large cooked meals for both lunch and dinner (although we were spolied staying with friends, this may not always be the case for the working population). The streets are lined with cafes and restuarants with people sipping coffee. Restuarants usually have meals of the day “menu de jour” which includes either entree and main, or main and dessert. Also coffee and a pastry comes at a special price. Fruit stalls are very common. Snails were witnessed on the menu, but never tried, and I never saw frogs legs anywhere, although I don’t know the french name for them.
This dish has to be the most commonly eaten in all of France. They are served sweet or savoury. Sweet combinations like sugar and lemon, chocolate (really nutella), chocolate and banana. Savoury combinations with cheese, tomato, ham and egg.
Another French staple, a pastry base, with egg, cream and other fillings like ham/bacon and onion(Lorraine), spinach (Florentine).
Everybody eats baguettes, all the time! Usually filled with salad and meat or cheese. There are loads of great bakeries, called boulangerie, with wonderful products all over France. Banette is a little baguette, and a restaurant is a big baguette. Baguettes are eaten with every meal. Panini are toasted baguettes.
France has the best croissants! Of course. The are light and fluffy, sometimes filled with chocolate. There is also a range of pastries on offer.
Cheese is plentiful, with the biggest assortment of types you could imagine.
Cured meats are also very common
Pate is very different to at home. It is not a smooth paste of liver, but course meat and liver, which is stringy and held in a jelly like mould. Frais Grois is fattened geese liver, which is more of a fine paste.
Like a meat loaf but more jellied like the pates, occasionaly having a pastry crust. Served from the dish in slices.
Rich fish stew, a specialty of Marsielles. Unfortunately we didn’t get to try this dish as we were onlly passing through.
Aubergine, tomatoes and peppers, usually with cheese.
Salad is very common on all menus. One of the most famous is Nicoise Salad, made of lettuce, tomato, tuna, egg, anchovies, potato and olives. See Nicoise Recipe. Also seen commonly was Seafood Salad and cous cous, which was noticed more in the south of France.
Pizza is common and is usualy served uncut, unless you ask.
We found donuts, sugared with white cheese in the centre, and an aniseed flavoured pretzil-like snack.
Breakfast cereal commonly contains chocolate.
Wine is a special produce of France which they are proud of. Majority of wines are red, and Rose is also available. Wine is very inexpensive, plus the cheap ones still taste good.
Corsicans are very proud of their food and typical products, of which includes cured meats (charcuterie), cheeses, wine, beer, pate. The cuisine is influencedby Italian eating due to its proximity with Sardinia. Chestnuts are grown here and made into an array of products including beer, ice cream, cake and an interesting sweet spread that goes on bread or in crepes. Wild boar is a specialty of the area, I ate it cooked in a tomato based sauce and served with pasta on the side, very tender! Goat is also eaten here.
Some of the home cooked meals in Corsica we had included:
- tomato, mozzarella and herb tart
- bacon and cheese quiche
- pasta with rockfort cheese and cream
- rice salad; white rice with sliced black olives, sliced boiled egg and tuna
- side dish of tomatoes and chick peas
- salad de musean - a sausage like meat made from pig snout, which is sliced and mixed with onions and vinegar dressing
- an assortment of cheese for after dinner
- Embrucciata a special Corsican cake made with broccini cheese, which is a little similar to ricotta, and the cake reminded me of a baked ricotta cheese cake, but a little sweeter.