Friday, October 28, 2011


Foodies like me can’t help but marvel at the most sensitive palates and the diversity and abundance of food available in France. That said it’s also because in France chefs are not only respected but worshipped too, so much so that even streets are named after them! The cuisine certainly belongs to its chefs who are constantly improving upon the past resulting in professionalism par excellence.

My first trip to Paris a few years ago, had left me gawking at every pastry window, thinking one required super natural powers to make such perfect gems, after graduating from a cooking school , I realized it’s not that difficult after all! Interestingly during the second empire, Jeanne Souchard, Ernest Laduree’s wife and daughter of a famous hotel-keeper in Rouen had the idea to mix styles hence the café and the cake shop gave birth to “Laduree” one of the first and finest Parisian tea rooms. The menu runs the Gamut from Traditional Croissants, Pretzel, Sandwiches, salads, and short crust pastries to the best Macaroons in town. At “Dalloyau” too, the pastry chefs make pastries that look like jewels and taste like ecstasy. Macaroons are a specialty here with flavours like velvet-black currant, liquorice, raspberry, lemon, morello cherries to name a few.

Foie Gras (pronounced fwä-grä) aka French for ‘fatty liver’ is a rich and buttery gourmet delicacy made from the liver of a duck or goose. For the French, it is not just a familiar ingredient, but an intricate part of the historical and cultural heritage of the people. Pate with Melba toast accompanied with Solera sweet wine from the Champagne region makes a winning combination. You cannot talk of French food and not mention the cheese, the most popular being the delicate and salty Camembert which tastes best with the Baguette (France’s best bread!). My personal favourite cheese however is the reach creamy and flavourful Boursin, absolutely stunning and tastes great with almost everything.

It is no secret that one of the best cuisines in France occurs in some of the finest wine regions. In Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, Touraine, the wine is as common in the cooking process and is cheaper than water. Interestingly in 2010 Atout France published a survey that concluded that being accommodated at and sharing meals with winegrowers are top of the wine-tourists priorities after wine, visiting wine purchase, cellar and museum visits and exploration of landscapes.

Indeed Gastronomy is an integral part of the French cultural heritage as much as the arts!


• Exploring France involves all your senses.

• Not stuck in its ways, but focused on modernity.

• A new generation of chefs are making their own passionate, original and flavoursome cuisine.

• Bistronomie is the latest concept.

• Know-how and tips are passed down from mother to daughter through the generations, maintain the tradition of “eating well” with the family!


France is the first country to be honoured by UNESCO for its national food and cuisine. In order to honour this living heritage of French Gastronomy, “Fete de la Gastronomie”, a food festival has been created which will take place on the first day of Autumn each year across the country!
Published in HT city