Where to eat in France, French gastronomy, eat in Paris, Paris restaurants
France has always been closely connected with the culinary art. From delicate exquisite dishes to the finest mature wines, this country is constantly surprising us with its flavors and aromas. In this section, it will be our pleasure to guide you through the delicious world of French cuisine.
French cuisine is divided into "classic" and "women’s". The former is aristocratic, costly and elegant, it is usually cooked with the most select ingredients and it is much more famous within French traditional cuisine. The latter – which has a typical country taste – is so called because it is housewives who has traditionally supported it. Although not so famous among tourists, it is still a pleasant experience to take delight in these unequaled rural tastes.
In order to be more precise, we will divide this section into regions and their corresponding specialties.
Alsace and Lorraine: as cookery is hunt-based, main dishes are often meat-based: veal, lamb, pork, etc.
Normandy: creamy food is indispensable to Normandy gastronomy. Cream and butter are the basic ingredients of this soft, sophisticated northern cuisine; however, being a seaside town, seafood is also a specialty. Nevertheless, cheeses are Normandy’s pride and joy, and not a single traveler should fail to taste at least some of the hundred different types of them. Piece of information: cheese comes after the main course, no exceptions.
Burgundy: it has always been considered the cradle of wine. It is a sin to leave Burgundy without tasting its exceptional first-rate wines. We could even say that food is a complement to wine instead of the other way around. Our recommendation is to accompany a fine wine with some of these dishes: Burgundian ox, snails baked in garlic or chalorais (veal) with mustard.
Dordogne: often accompanied with plums, goose and duck are the specialties of this region.
Corsica: smoked pork, trout, pate and wild herbs are among the best dishes, but eel stand out.
Lyon: celebrated for its cuisine as no other city in France, Lyon is full of international restaurants specialized in gourmet dishes. Yet the authentic, traditional flavor of the city is found in the bouchons, which are typical bistros that include delicious local dishes on their menus. Smoked meat, barbecued chicken, salami and pie “á la lyonnaise” are just some of them.
Paris: it has never had traditional gastronomy of its own but, being the capital city, it has a wide variety of foods coming from different regions of the country. Hence, in Parisian restaurants you will find a wide range of regional dishes. Unlike bouchons, these restaurants are first-class and elegant, but also a bit too expensive.
French people pride themselves, with reason, on their wines. Therefore, we will dedicate an entire part of this section to French wines.
Firstly, we would like to make something clear: it seems unlikely that you could possibly taste a regional wine unless you are in the place where it was originally produced. In other words, to taste Burgundy, you must go to Burgundy. Secondly, we want to inform you about some labels which set the standards of the different types of wine. For instance, whenever you see the acronym “AC” (Appelation d’origen Controlée), it means that everything concerning the quality of a wine – raw materials = grapes, production procedures, vintage and proportion of alcohol in liquor – has been strictly controlled. The acronym VDQS (Vin Délimité de Quatilté Supérieure) means that a wine is cheap and second-rate, although it competes every year for a place among first-rate wines. Finally, Vin de Table is a category of regional wines whose production is quite a simple procedure; hence, these are cheap but good-quality wines.
Depending on where a wine was originated, it is given a different denomination. Burgundy is produced from grapes difficult to obtain on a large scale and, therefore, it is produced in small quantities. It is a strong, full-bodied wine that leaves an unforgettable taste in your mouth. Champagne is produced from different grapes coming from different vineyards. It was only when glass bottles and corks came into existence that champagne could be stored. Before that, it was almost impossible as it is sparkling wine. Bordeaux dates from the Middle Ages, when the homonymous region was under England’s rule.
We will close this section by talking about French meals and their distinctive characteristics. What time do French people eat their meals? It seems a silly question, but it will help you plan your day-schedule better. Besides, this information will allow you to organize family or business meals.
Breakfast: light, usually a couple of croissants or brioches with coffee will do. If you want some fruit juice, you must ask for it, as it is not included. In comparison with the other meals, breakfast time is extremely variable.
Lunch: served at about 1 p.m., the main dish often consists of some animal product and a side salad, with a bottle of fine wine or water as a complement.
Dinner: the principal meal of the day. It is usually served at 8 p.m., but some restaurants serve food until 2 a.m. It is an abundant meal. Generally, the first course is soup, and the second meat or shellfish with a side dish and wine as a complement.
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