It’s no secret that French cuisine is one of the best in the world. And it’s also no secret why! Freshly baked bread, a plethora of scrumptious cheeses, and the most extensive pastry selection in existence.. all washed down with the finest red wine; French cuisine truly is a dream. However, aside from its’ unparalleled flavour and freshness, several other, even more prominent reasons exist as to why authentic French food is so unique.
You see, in France, food isn’t just for flavour and function; it’s fun, a tradition, part of a greater mentality, and plays a substantially larger role in life than in most other cultures, taking on an almost ritualistic nature in the process. And whilst French cooking techniques, such as sautéing and poaching, and dishes, à la cassoulet and bouillabaisse, are undoubtedly inimitable, it’s the French food culture and traditions surrounding these that truly make this cuisine one of a kind.
Read on, and discover exactly what makes French cuisine so unique!
THEY TAKE THEIR MARKETS SERIOUSLY
In France, markets are a part of the culture, taking place not just as special events, but on a weekly, and even daily occurrence. A tradition hailing from France’s rural heritage, markets occur in all areas, from the tiniest villages to the heart of Paris. Diverse, fresh and incredibly local, whereas supermarkets and convenience reign supreme in most Western countries, markets thrive in France, and not just as a gimmick, but on equal footing to large chain stores. This importance placed upon quality over quantity is subsequently one of the key reasons why French cuisine is so unique.
THEY DEDICATE 2 WHOLE HOURS TO LUNCH
Who doesn’t love a culture that dedicates 2 whole hours to eating at midday?! (Seriously, sign us up). Lunch is the main meal of the day for the French, consisting of around 4 courses. And this certainly isn’t an adults-only activity; the societal importance placed upon lunch extends itself to schools also, with most schools serving 3 courses daily.
IT'S AS MUCH ABOUT THE COMPANY AS IT IS ABOUT THE FOOD
In our fast-paced, non-stop modern way of living, the idea of sitting down to eat with loved ones has sadly become something of a rarity, with grabbing food on the go the new norm. Not in France however, where just as much importance is placed upon the dining experience as it is the food. The French view meals as an opportunity to connect, and spend time with the ones you love. This is why multiple courses are commonplace, and such ample time dedicated to eating. Eating alone, for convenience, and snacking are all heavily frowned upon, with eating viewed as a group activity.
Though we might miss our favourite fast-food joints; long lunches and more quality time with loved ones? Now that’s something we can definitely get on board with!
1 WORD, 4 LETTERS; WINE
One of our absolute favourite aspects of French food culture is that with food, comes wine! And not just any wine, but some of the most exquisite and acclaimed in the world. You see, France’s famous gastronomical delights extend far from the plate, and deep into the wine glass. See our blog for more information on the Southern French wine regions, including the top places for wine-tasting (such as our own wine cellar).
IT'S SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACTED OTHER CULTURE'S FOODS
To fully understand what makes French cuisine unique, look no further than the astonishing impact it’s had on other countries’ culinary scenes.
In Vietnam for example, such French staples as potatoes, asparagus, and lettuce, (introduced via colonisation in the 1800s), are today so consistently used that they’re now considered Vietnamese by nature. Modern Vietnamese food also greatly reflects the French palette, compromising heavily of pastries, coffee and bread. Mexican cuisine meanwhile is so heavily influenced by French cooking that it birthed the term ‘la comida afrancescada’, which quite literally means ‘Frenchified cooking’.
French food is also regularly, and lovingly, imitated by top chefs across the globe, and the popularity of all things pastry in the U.K simply cannot be overemphasised, evidencing just how substantial France’s culinary influence truly is (seriously, could you even begin to imagine life without croissants or pan au chocolats?!).
Ultimately, the sacredness placed on food by the French, evidenced by how it is sourced, handled, and consumed, as well as the starring role it plays in French society, altogether illustrate how French cuisine is completely unlike any other.
Here at Le Mas, we love celebrating French food culture and traditions. Our Michelin star restaurant, Le Candille, which is headed by Chef Xavier Burelle, prepares authentic French food on the daily. You can therefore experience this Unesco World Heritage Practice in all its glory, straight from the comfort of our hotel.