If there is a saying that says, where you go do what you see, Can we also say where you go eat what you see ...? Sure! I always insist that a vacation must also be a gastronomic vacation and if you are going to France, well, much more because the French gastronomy It is one of the best in the world.
What are the French culinary customs? What can you eat, where, when, in what way? Let's find out today.
France and its food
Anyone know that French cuisine is great and in many cases, very refined. It is part of the charm of the country and its tourist stamp. We have all walked through Paris with a butter and ham sandwich or eaten macarons on the banks of the Seine. Or something similar. I have walked a lot through the aisles of the supermarket seeing wonders, I have tasted tasty mousses of chocolate and I have bought exquisite soft cheeses ...
It is true that as a tourist, if you can and want, you can eat all day and take advantage of every moment to try different things, but the French tend to eat less than a tourist in action. In fact, there is always talk of three basic meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner with few sandwiches in between. In the main meals the presence of meat, fish and poultry is important.
Contrary to other European countries such as England or Germany, here breakfast is rather light. No sausages, eggs, ham and so much fat ... Bread with coffee o toasts or croissants and so you get to lunch. The Breakfast you eat very early, before leaving for work or school. Nobody spends a lot of time cooking a breakfast, it's all about making a hot drink and making something with quick bread.
Then comes the hour of lunch, lunch, a whole hour in many jobs, which usually starts at 12:30 noon. Thus, if you are on the streets of a city at that time you start to see more people, queuing at takeaway food stores or already sitting at the table in small restaurants. Surely in other times there was more dedication at lunch but today fast times are global.
Lunch usually includes three courses: starter, main course and as a third course either a dessert or some cheese. Obviously it is hard to arrive at dinner time with only a quick breakfast and a lunch that, since you continue working afterwards, is usually also light. So French can fall into a to taste, a mid-afternoon snack accompanied by a coffee or tea. Especially children, who can receive it from 4 in the afternoon.
And then, between that mid-afternoon snack and the dinner proper, either at home or in a bar between work and home, it takes place the apéritif. The classics finger foods around 7 in the afternoon. For me there is nothing like a tasty bite of cold cuts, with dried fruits, various cheeses and grapes. My favorite apéritif.
And so we come to dinner, you diner, which for my taste is rather early because it can be quietly between 7:30 and 8 pm, depending on the family's schedules. It is the most important meal of the day, family-oriented, relaxed, conversation and encounter. If the family has young children, they may be fed before and after dinner is for adults only. Wine cannot be absent.
Restaurants operate other hours, of course, but you can have dinner from 8 o'clock, although dinners at midnight are also possible at least in the larger cities. At lunch time it is not so because restaurants usually close between lunch and dinner so it would not be a good idea to plan to eat out after 2 in the afternoon.
In these French culinary customs there are details: the French buy ingredients, not food; They cook a lot at home with fresh ingredients, plan the menu and sit down to enjoy it with family or friends. Nobody thinks of buying something from a machine and eating it standing next to it, or chewing an apple next to the sink, or eating standing at the kitchen counter.
Think nothing more than it is calculated that Throughout the country there are around 32 thousand bakeries and about 10 million baguettes are sold per year... The French are great lovers of bread and when combined with other simple ingredients, such as cheese and wine, they have unforgettable dishes.
We said before that meat has its weight and so it is in dishes like the famous boeuf bourguignon, the leg of lamb and the pork Toulouse style. Other meats are chicken and duck, present in very popular dishes such as Dijon chicken, braised with wine, or the duck with orange, the turkey with walnuts or the braised goose that is a Christmas classic.
In terms of fish, let us remember that France has thousands of kilometers of marine coastline, so it has an important fishing industry in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. So there is salmon (salmon en papillote, tuna (Provencal grilled tuna), swordfish à la Nicoise or dishes stewed with prawns, mussels, clams and monkfish. There are also lobsters and oysters.
Eye that France is also the land of coffee and little coffee… The local people love to go to a cafe and sit outside and watch the world go by. Alone or accompanied, reading the newspaper or simply observing the coming and going of people is a centuries-old custom.
The truth is that there is no doubt that the French consider cooking and eating two passions and thus, if you move around the country, you will discover exquisite regional dishes and many regions in which UNESCO has declared its gastronomies Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.