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Introduction to French Cuisine

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France has a wide range of climate and geographies which support the production of local ingredients, all different from region to region. This diversity in local ingredient gives French cuisine its uniqueness from city to city, region to region.

France has a wide range of climate and geographies which support the production of local ingredients, all different from region to region. This diversity in local ingredient gives French cuisine its uniqueness from city to city, region to region.

In essence, French cuisine is simple, relying on non-complicated recipes and using the best and freshest ingredients. A French meal can range from the simple  cbaguette with ham or cheese and a glass of table wine to a sophisticated fine dining experience comprising of a degustation menu with multiple courses and wine pairing. The two most typical accompaniments for any French cuisine are cheese and wine. In French cuisine, wine is considered an essential item on the table and is taken with the two main meals. It is not used only for special occasions nor should it be the most expensive. Cheese is often serves just before or as a replacement for dessert and used widely in the preparation of the dishes.

Three Categories of French Cuisine

Every region of the country has its own cooking style and ingredients used. French cuisine can be classified broadly into three distinct styles. First up is Classical French Haute cuisine, which typically uses cream based sauces in the preparation of the meal. This French style usually comes with dishes , with are expensive and elegant. The preparation of the dishes can sometimes be as elaborate as the dishes themselves. The second category of French cuisine is Cuisine Nouvelle. This category of food is lighter and much simpler, especially without the use of cream sauces. Cooking time is also much quicker and less elaborate. The emphasis for Cuisine Nouvelle dishes are fresh seasonal and local ingredients. The last category of French cuisine is Cuisine du terroir. It focuses on regional specialities and very rustic in terms of style. Most of the dishes in this category use only local ingredients. All three distinct styles of French cuisine does have its own supporters and have many restaurants across the country that specializes in only one style of cooking.

Preparation of French food is heavily dependent on seasonal changes

French cuisine is also impacted by the seasonal changes and the food that is served on the table. In the summer, fruit dishes and salad are served because it is energizing, refreshing and more important, the produce is easily available and not expensive. Grocers typically sell the fruit and vegetables at lower prices than see it wilt in the summer heat. When summer ends, mushrooms become the main ingredient as it is now abundant. This also signals the start of the hunting season which runs from September right up to February. Currently, all kinds of meat are use for cooking. The early months of the year as in January to March are when seafood becomes the main dishes on the table.

Popular French Desserts

No discussion of French cuisine can be completed without a mention of French desserts. Items like Creme Brule, Tarte Tatin, Chocolate Mousse, Lemon Meringue Pie and Chocolate Eclairs are famous all over the world. The French has many dessert recipes and continue to experiment constantly with traditional dishes to make new and tasty dessert.

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john doe
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Posted on Mar 19, 2011

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Terrence Tan

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