Certainly, the French have earned their gilded place in the history of fine cuisine. Below, we’ll discuss five interesting facts that you may never have known about the fine art of French cooking throughout the centuries.
1.) DATES BACK TO MEDIEVAL TIMES
Interestingly enough, the refined complexity of French cuisine dates back to the middle ages, blending with shared Moorish cultural tastes in the beginning. According to historians, meals were usually served all at once. This was referred to as service en confusion and consisted of spiced pork, beef, poultry, and fish.
2.) THE MYTH OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI
It has long been conjectured that Catherine De Medici played a pivotal role by introducing Italian cuisine to the French. She was originally from Florence, Italy, and married King Henry II of France who reigned in the mid-1500s. After marriage, she brought along her Italian chefs who were noted to influence the sophistication of French dishes. In reality, French cuisine had already been nationally grounded in its own right. A cookery book called Platine dating to 1505 in Lyon clearly shows that French recipes had come into their own by then.
3.) THE FRENCH CUISINE ENLIGHTENMENT
After the French Revolution, the entire food industry in France underwent profound change in the availability of foods. This was due to the fall of guilds, having previously prevented French chefs from using and selling certain types of food. One of the most famous chefs from this time was Marie-Antoine Carême, who developed a standard palette of base sauces. They were also referred to as ‘mother sauces’ which primarily included espagnole, velouté, and béchamel.
4.) MODERN HAUTE CUISINE WAS DRAWN FROM CAREME’S RECIPES
A leading pioneer in the modernization of Haute cuisine in the late 19th and early 20th century was Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935), who was a prominent culinary chef, writer, and owner of many French restaurants. He popularized and modernized many popular French cooking methods, as well as developed better ways to organize restaurant kitchen processes by using the brigade system which separated a kitchen into 5 sections Escoffier simplified many of Carême’s recipes in the process.
5.) THE FRENCH PARADOX
With the colloquial notion of the French paradox, we can understand all we might need to know about French cooking. The paradox highlights how the French often enjoy deliciously heavy meals that are full in fats. Yet, when compared with other countries? They have very low rates of heart disease. That’s right … the truth is the wine.
So there you have it, five fascinating French food facts. If you’re traveling to France to experience the food firsthand, here’s a helpful tip for getting around the cities like Paris. Take a look at a single speed bike offered by Brooklyn Bicycle Company, since these are the types of bikes you’ll want to ride to get around the city faster, not to mention comfortable seating. Trust me, after a heavy French meal you will certainly enjoy comfortable seating back to the hotel!