The entire dining experience is taken very seriously in France. Not only do the French believe you should sit and enjoy your food, they also believe in having wine with lunch & dinner. In fact wine is one of the leading staples alongside bread and cheese when it comes to French cuisine. Perhaps that is why France is the leading wine producer throughout the world!
For those of you that are not wine connoisseurs, and are looking to understand French wine and how it is paired with the cuisine you are trying to replicate, we thought we’d break the French wine categories down for you and make it a bit simpler. That being said, French wine is organized into 4 different regions and 4 categories depending greatly on quality of the grapes used and production itself.
4 Categories Of Identifying Grape Quality
- Table Wine- the lowest on the grape quality spectrum but definitely still delicious to drink. Table Wine is for everyday use.
- Vin de Pays’- Similar to Table Wine but of a little higher quality
- Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure- this type of wine is from a specific region and contains high quality grapes
- Appellation d’origine Contrôlée- This is by far the crem dela creme of all wine. The AOC seal is in recognition of the highest quality of grape and French wine available
4 Different French wine Regions
- Bordeaux- This is mainly the region where Cabernets, Merlots, & Malbecs originate from. These wines are typically used in Bordelaise sauce which is made up of red wine, spices, and shallots.
- Cotes Du Rhone- This region is found in the South of France and is home to red grapes that make up Syrah’s & Grenaches. As well as white grapes that make up viognier & Roussance
- Burgundy- This particular region is best known for it’s white grapes that are found in Chardonnays and red grapes that are found in Pinot Noirs. Wine from the Burgundy region finds its way into La Bourguignonne sauce which are also comprised of baby onions and mushrooms
- Alsace- this region is found very close to Germany and thus has cooler temperatures than the rest of France and it’s wine regions. Because it is so close to the German border this region is influences a lot by Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer
Another fun fact and something your taste buds may thank you for is the fact that French Sauvignon Blancs are comparable to those from New Zealand. What exactly does this mean? If you are a Sauvignon Blanc drinker you may know that many people prefer New Zealand Sauv Blancs because of their grassy and grapefruit enhanced structure. If you are looking to find a Sauv Blanc with notes that differ a bit, but a wine that still stands up to its New Zealand relative try a French Sauv Blanc, we don’t think you will be disappointed!
The French appreciate wine and not only drink it with the majority of meals they also use it alot in sauces and other dishes. Get familiar with the different regions and find a couple wines from each that are within your budget and taste. Having a bit of understanding of what wines do for your French sauces and other dishes that call for them, will help you to replicate your chosen French dish and eating it will be that much more enjoyable!
You have just been introduced to the wonder and deliciousness of French Cuisine and now you are ready to try your hand at recreating some of the fabulous French recipes available at home. Perhaps you have always loved French dishes but never have found the time to make them yourself. Whatever it may be, one thing is sure to be said, once you master French cuisine at home your dinner parties and gatherings just got a whole though better! Before I start on any new venture involving another culture I tend to do a bit of research to understand the culture and their idea of food, spices, pairings etc. Having somewhat of an understanding of the culture you are trying to replicate a dish from can make all the difference in how the dish turns out!
That being said, to get everyone started on their French cuisine cooking at home, we thought we would share some fun and interesting facts about Food & the French Culture!
French Cuisine/ Culture Facts
- Enjoying Your Food- In traditional French culture food enjoyment is a HUGE priority. The French feel that eating is part of their culture and not just an act of putting food in your body. They take time to savor their meals and enjoy themselves in all aspects while doing so!
- Cheese Galore- the French have a different cheese for EVERY day of the year.
- Snails, Snails, Snails- definitely a country staple, the French consume an average of 500,000,000 snails per year!
- No Food Waste- France was the very FIRST country to prohibit supermarkets from throwing away unsold food.. Instead they must donate it to charities or other services that it may help. Probably one of my favorite facts!!!
- Traditional Baguette- If you want to enjoy a truly traditional French baguette, it must only be made with 3 ingredients- Flour, Yeast, & Salt. The entire loaf must way just under 9 ounces
- Legal Drinking Age- Not 1 but different legal drinking ages in the French culture. 16 for beer/wine, and 18 for hard liquor and other strong spirits
- Simple Desserts- Although many can conjure up sweet decadent desserts when thinking of French sweets the opposite is true. Traditional French dessert consists of fresh fruit, sometimes yogurt or a small square of real dark chocolate.
- Wine- Wine one of the biggest staples and influences when it comes to French cuisine and dining
- Celebrations- When it’s time to celebrate the French drink Champagne!
- Traditional Christmas Menu– during the celebration of Christmas the French enjoy a menu of raw oysters, escargots, smoked salmon, foie gras, scallops, and let’s not forget the Champagne!
- Horse & Rabbit- If you have ever dined at an authentic French restaurant, you may have noticed you saw an abundance of dishes made with horse and rabbit. This is because the French tend to eat a lot of horse and rabbit.
- The AOC- The French rely heavily on the AOC or Appellation D’Origine Controlee labeling system. This system helps to regulate the quality of chicken, wine, cheeses, olive oils, potatoes & lentils.
- Lunch Time- We said the French believe in the enjoyment of their food and because this is of such great importance it is not uncommon for the French to take a 2 hour lunch break at minimum.
Every culture has certain staples and beliefs when it comes to their cooking techniques and cuisine. Understanding their way of seeing food and the ingredients they choose can help to make your at home French cuisine out of this world! Not only is it fun to cook new dishes, having a great glass of wine that compliments the food and aromas coming from your kitchen makes the whole process that much more delicious and relaxing!
Hello, or as the French say bonjour! Welcome to our blog on French Cuisine and the simple steps and recipes that you can cook at home. We took our love for French cooking and decided to share it with the world through this site. We hope to provide interesting and useful knowledge on the art of french cuisine as well as make French cuisine fun and easy to master in your own home. Get ready for some great dinner parties and some delicious food!