SPANIARDS, ITALIANS, AND GREEKS cook with a concept in their mind: "Are you hungry? - Eat this." People in those countries have one cuisine. French people have four cuisines. Since the early days of the Renaissance in the 1500s, French people created recipes that they perfected and refined as centuries went by.
France is the largest country in western Europe with more than half of its land enjoying rich, arable, and pastoral soil. Along with plentiful rainfall, it altogether allows growing large quantities of produce making France a leading agricultural nation in Western Europe. French people taught themselves how to correctly use their produce implementing cooking techniques which further enhance their meals. Yes, French are passionate about food and wines to go with their tasteful and healthy meals.
• Northern regions ~such as Burgundy and Bordeaux~ had excelled raising cattle and enjoyed economic prosperity for centuries. They cook red meat with creamier sauces, and hence, their meals are rich.
• Mountain regions' success is their dairy farming and the 256 cheeses which are uniquely French. People in those regions also have their recipes with creamier sauces, but they are more inclined to eat fish.
• Mediterranean coast of France is the warmest part of Europe. The sun shines about 300 days each year. Their foods are cooked with a variety of vegetables, fruits, Herbs de Provence, olive oil, garlic, and fish.
• The French Have Four Cuisines •
» haute cuisine - It is the classical, sophisticated, well presented, and certainly tasteful French cuisine. There is emphasis on uniformity, color, and elegant presentation. The work it takes to prepare and cook meals in this cuisine make Haute Cuisine laborious; but worth it!
» cuisine bourgeoise - This cuisine has been documented since the 17th. century. It is home cooking of middle class families. It is quite elaborated, but not as much as Haute Cuisine. As we may predict of four cuisines the French enjoy, Cuisine Bourgeoise is tasty and nutritious.
» cuisine du terroir - French people call "Savoir-vivre" to the ability to live life well, intelligently, meeting situations with poise, good manners, and elegance. This cuisine is associated with a fine meal, matching wine, and a superb way of life.
» cuisine nouvelle - This is the new kid in the block born in late 1960s early 1970s. This cuisine counter-acts Haute Cuisine's time-consuming preparation. Its meals are less elaborated and faster to prepare. It shares with all French cuisines emphasis on local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients.
• White Wine & Cheese •
French people have a relationship with wine. It is not expensive and it is drunk everyday in a healthy way. Cheeses are special as well and expected to be served with slices of baguette as a course in itself after the main course; but before dessert. As expected, French people match their cheeses to their wines.
Well-informed travelers enjoy what this magnificent 'Nation of Gourmets' has to offer.