For the French, cooking and eating is a philosophy, a way of life and an expression of self. French cuisine is a unique, cultural experience. Preparing and savoring French food is an art that takes a lifetime to master, yet requires that time stand still to appreciate its splendor. It is a pure, nearly religious, sensory experience. What once was subsistence is now an object of daily, living art. But succulent foie gras and airy soufflés, truffles and hundreds varieties of cheese, champagne and butter croissants haven't always been the fare of choice in France. French cuisine has evolved over the centuries of social and political changes. Classic cuisine was made famous by its intricate preparation, by using the finest ingredients, by emphasizing the cooking techniques and artful plate presentation.
The Middle Ages were dominated by lavish banquets at the royal and regional courts with ornate, heavily seasoned food. At the same time, French peasants lived mostly in poverty and survived on a nutritionally limited diet of grains, root vegetables, and wine. Over the centuries, the national cuisine developed primarily in Paris with the chefs to French royalty, but eventually it spread throughout the country and was even exported overseas. The era of the French Revolution saw a move toward fewer spices, more liberal usage of herbs and more refined techniques.
Eventually the French cuisine turned into a magical art of beautiful presentation and innovative flavors. Modern French cooking is dominated by nouvelle cuisine, introduced in the 1970s. This trend is characterized by simpler, less time-consuming dishes, lighter sauces, smaller portions, and a greater emphasis on local, high quality, seasonal ingredients. It involves flexible preparation methods and experimentation with non-traditional flavors. Mastering the art of French cooking is considered by many to be the pinnacle of culinary achievement, accomplished with a few practiced cooking methods, signature ingredients, and just a dash of panache.
France is blessed with sunny weather, beautiful countryside, a beaches, historic cities, ornate churches, picturesque chateaux, and some of the best food and wine in the world. The French take there meals seriously, but having a relaxed, impromptu meal is part of the culinary scene. If culinary delights are what you enjoy, then France is definetely the perfect destination for you. From bustling markets with the freshest selection of produce, to intimate shops specializing in just certain kind of bread, cheese, and wine, the gastronomic perfection of food in France is spectacular.