The Food of France: A Journey for Food Lovers

Paperback | February 27, 2011

EditorChirs L Whitecap Books Ltd.Photographed byChirs L Jones

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The Food of France gives you a real taste of a country that has made food one of the great joys of everyday life. It creates a culinary journey from the restaurants of Lyon to the kitchens of Provence, through the vineyards of Bordeaux to the bakers of Paris, to discover the food that defines today`s French cooking: the freshest seafood with herb aioli, winter salt pork with lentils and slow-cooking cassoulet, warm brioche and petits pots de crème. Beautiful photographs shot in France show how to choose the best produce -- from market fresh vegetables to seafood, regional cheeses, and charcuterie. To partner the recipes, special sections explore the essence of French food and drink. Varieties of cheeses, charcuterie, seafood, patisserie, and breads have been photographed to make identification easy. Included are sections on such special topics as: - Properly ripening a Camembert - The baguette - French chocolate - Enjoying the best of France`s wines and champagnes.

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The Food of France gives you a real taste of a country that has made food one of the great joys of everyday life. It creates a culinary journey from the restaurants of Lyon to the kitchens of Provence, through the vineyards of Bordeaux to the bakers of Paris, to discover the food that defines today`s French cooking: the freshest seafood with herb aioli, winter salt pork with lentils and slow-cooki...

Kay Halsey and Lulu Grimes are award-winning food editors and authors whose other titles include The Food of China and The Food of China.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 11.58 × 9.14 × 1.06 inPublished:February 27, 2011Publisher:Whitecap BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:155285681X

ISBN - 13:9781552856819

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The Food of France The French preside over one of the world's great culinary heritages, from ripe camembert to warm croissants, exquisite pâtisserie and vintage champagne, and nowhere is it better, or enjoyed more, than in France itself. France's reputation for wonderful food and cooking is often thought of as being based on technical skills and extravagant, expensive ingredients -- on sauces that need to be reduced, and foie gras, truffles and other delicacies. This is haute cuisine, 'classic cooking', which was developed by the chefs of the French aristocracy and reached its heyday n the nineteenth century under legendary French chefs like Auguste Escoffier. Haute cuisine is a time-consuming artform that adheres to strict rules, and this elegant term of cooking requires an understanding of its special methods and techniques, skills honed by long apprenticeships in the kitchens of great restaurants, particularly in creating the subtle sauces that are its foundation. Nowadays this style of cooking is found mostly in expensive restaurants, but it can represent the highest art of cooking, one celebrated in stars by the famous Michelin guide. Nouvelle cuisine, 'new cooking', was a reaction to the dominance of haute cuisine in the 1960s, when chefs, including Paul Bocuse and the Troisgros brothers, banded together to create lighter dishes, with less reliance on heavy sauces and a willingness to experiment with untraditional ingredients and cooking styles. Nouvelle cuisine encouraged innovation, and though some of its precepts were later abandoned, it had a lasting influence on French cooking. Fundamentally, however, French food is a regionally based cuisine and many French dishes are called after their place of origin, from entrecôte à la bordelaise, sole à la normande to boeuf à la bourguignonne. Eating your way around France the regional differences are still very distinct, and most restaurants cook not only the local dishes, but those of their own town or village. This is a result not only of tradition, out also of an enduring respect for the local produce, the produits du terrior. Each area of France grows or produces food uniquely suited to its terrain and climate, from Bresse chickens to walnuts from Grenoble, butter from Normandy and mustard from Dijon. Nowadays there is more crossover between the provinces, and in markets, the best, not just the local, vegetables can be found, but the notion of regional specialties still underlies French cooking. This respect for ingredients extends also to only eating fruit and vegetables at the height of their season. Recipes change to reflect the best that each month has to offer, and every month, seasonal fruits and vegetables are eagerly awaited, from the summer melons of Provence to autumn walnuts and winter truffles in the Dordogne. The French have also gone to great lengths to protect their ingredients and traditional methods of food preparation. The strict appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system that they use to keep the r cheese and wines as authentic as possible, is also being extended to an increasing number of other important and regionally based food products, from Puy lentils to carrots from Créances. The French love food and though many traditions have changed, and an office worker is just as likely to grab a quick sandwich on the run as enjoy a four-course lunch, as a foundation of French culture, eating and drinking remain incredibly important. One of the great joys of France is starting the morning with a petit déjeuner of a fresh croissant and a café au lait. Lunch is still for many the main meal of the day, though dinner may be equally substantial, and with many shops and work places closed between 12:30 and 3:30, it can extend to three or four courses with wine. Despite the emergence of the hypermarché, specialist food shops and weekly markets are integral to the French way of life. There is a boulangerie in every village; meat is purchased at a boucherie; while a charcuterie specializes in pork products and delicatessen items and a pâtisserie in baked goods. Markets are usually held weekly, and in some areas you can follow the same stallholders from town to town through the week. Even Paris has its neighborhood markets, and there are also specialty markets, such as the garlic market in Aix-en-Provence in July and the foie gras market in the winter in Sarlat in Périgord. The Food of the North Paris is a world culinary center, where neighborhood markets sell fantastic produce from all over France. Much of the city's reputation lies with its restaurants a legacy of the revolution when private chefs had to find a new living. Parisians are legendarily discerning about their food and it is here you find the real home of the baguette, the country's most refined pâtisserie and finest cheese shops. Brittany is traditionally a fishing and farming region with outstanding seafood, including native oysters, and wonderful early fruits and vegetables. Sweet crêpes and savory buckwheat galettes are found throughout the region, Its sea salt, sel do guerande, is used all over France. Normandy's rich pasture is home to some of France's greatest cheeses: Camembert, Pont l'Evêque and Livarot; along with crème fraìche, butter and apples --t hree classic ingredients in French cuisine. There is also pré-salé lamb (lamb raised in salt marshes), mussels, oysters, cider and calvados. Known as 'the Garden of France', the Loire Valley produces fruit, vegetables and white wines. Wild mushrooms are grown in the caves of Saumur and regional dishes include rillettes, andouillettes and tarte Tatin. The region also produces fine goat's cheeses including Crottin de Chavignol. Poitou-Charentes on the Atlantic Coast has some of France's best oyster beds near Marennes, and is home to Charentais melons, unsalted butter and Cognac. Nord-Pas-de-Calais along the coast includes Boulogne sur-mer, France's biggest fishing port. Inland are found the washed-rind Maroilles cheese, andoulliettes and Flemish beers, used for cooking in dishes such as carbonnade à la flamande. Picardie has vegetables, fruit and pré-salé lamb. Champagne-Ardennes is a rural region, with Champagne famous not just for its wine, but also for cheeses such as Brie and Chaource. In the rugged north, the game forests of Ardennes have created a tradition of charcuterie. Jambon d'Ardennes and pâtés d'Ardennes are world-famous. Bordering Germany, Alsace-Lorraine's mixed heritage is reflected in its cuisine. Its charcuterie is used in quiche lorraine, choucroute garnie, tarte flambée and baeckenoffe (stew). Meat dishes à la lorraine are served with red cabbage cooked in wine, while Alsace's baking has Germanic influences, with pretzels, rye bread and kugelhopf. The Food of the East and Center Central France is made up of the regions of Auvergne and Limousin. With very cold winters, the cuisine of these areas tends to be hearty and potatoes and cabbages are heavily used for dishes such as aligot and potée auvergnate (one-pot pork and cabbage stew). Limousin is famous for its beet, lamb, pork and veal and Auvergne for its game and tiny green Puy lentils. The area also produces Cantal and Saint Nectaire cheeses as well as blue cheeses such as Bleu d'Auvergne and Fourme d'Ambert. Auvergne is known for its bottled mineral waters, including Vichy and Volvic. Burgundy is world-famous for its red and white wines with the wine industry centered around the town of Beaune. Burgundian dishes tend to be rich, full of flavor and a perfect match for the area's wines. Wine is also an important part of the region's cooking, and à la bourguignonne usually means cooked in red wine. Boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, Bresse chicken cooked with cream and wild morals, snails filled with garlic herb butter and slices of jambon persillé (ham and parsley set in aspic) are all Burgundian classics. Dijon is synonymous with mustard and is also the home of pain d'épices (spicy gingerbread) and kir, made of white wine and crème de cassis from local blackcurrants. One of France's great gastronomic capitals, Lyon is home to great restaurants, including Paul Bocuse's, as well as many simple bouchons (traditionally working-class cafés) and brasseries all over the city. Considered to be the charcuterie center of France, Lyon is renowned for its andouillettes, cervelas and rosette sausages, served at bouchons along with salade lyonnaise, pike quenelles, poulet au vinaigre (chicken stewed in vinegar), potato gratins, the fresh herb cheese, cervelle do canut (silk-weavers' brains) and pots (one pint bottles) of local Beaujolais or Côtes du Rhône. The surrounding countryside produces excellent fruit and vegetables, as well as AOC chickens from Bourg-en-Bresse. The East of France rises up into the French Alps and is made up of three regions, Franche-Comté in the north and Savoie and Dauphiné in the south. These mountain regions have great cheesemaking traditions and in the summer, alpages cheeses such as Reblochon are still made from animals taken up to the high meadows. Tomme de Savoie, Beaufort and Comté are other mountain cheeses and dishes include fondues and raclettes. Potatoes are found all over the Center and East, but it is Dauphiné that gives its name to the famous gratin dauphinois. The Food of the South and Southwest Bordeaux is associated with great wines and the grands crus of Médoc and Saint Emilion are world-famous, as are dessert wines from Sauternes. Red wine is used in cooking and these dishes are usually known as à la bordelaise, such as entrecôte à la bordelaise. Oysters from the Atlantic beds at Arcachon and pré-salé lamb from Pauillac are specialties. Goose and duck confit and foie gras are the Dordogne and Lot's most famous exports along with the black truffles and walnuts of Périgord. Black truffles and foie gras are used as a garnish in many southwest dishes and these dishes are sometimes known as à la périgourdine. Walnuts are used in salade aux noix and in oils, and prunes are grown at Agen. Gascony is a largely rural area that produces Armagnac and is famous, along with the Dordogne, for its foie gras, duck and goose confit, pâtés and terrines and for the use of goose fat in its cooking. Home-made and local specialties can be tasted at fermes auberges (farmhouse restaurants). The southwest Basque country close to Spain flavors its food with spicy piment d'Espelette, dried chilies, which are also often used in the salting mixture for the local Bayonne ham. Tuna are caught off the Atlantic coast and the tradition of baking, such as making gâteau basque, is strong. The flavors of Provence are those of the Mediterranean: olives, olive oil, garlic, eggplants (aubergines), zucchini (courgettes), tomatoes and herbes de provence, along with melons from Cavaillon, strawberries and peaches. Provençal cuisine includes the strong flavors of aïoli, anchoïade and tapénade; pissaladière and piston from the Italian-bordering Côte d'Azur; simple grilled fish and the classic bouillabaisse; red rice from the Camargue and honey and candied fruit. Close to Spain, Languadoc-Roussillon is home to the famous Roquafort blue cheese, which is aged in caves. Along the coast, anchovies are conserved and the area uses salt cod in dishes such as brandade de morue. There is fresh seafood from the Mediterranean and bourride is Languedoc's bouillabaisse. Inland, there is hearty cassoulet from Carcassonne, Castelnaudary and Toulouse, sausages from Toulouse and pink garlic from Tarn. Corsica, closer to Italy and Sardinia than Franca, has a tradition of Italian charcuterie, pasta and polanta. Stufato is a classic rich beef stew, where the sauce is served over pasta.

Table of Contents

The Food of France

RECIPES

Soups

Hors d'oeuvres

Eggs and cheese

Pâtés and terrines

Seafood

Poultry, Meat and Game

Vegetables

Desserts and Baking

Basics

Glossary of French Food and Cooking
Index

FOOD JOURNEYS IN FRANCE

Bread
The baguette -- from the village depôt to the Paris boulangerie

Cheese
How to ripen a Normandy Camembert

Seafood
Marseilles -- turning the Mediterranean into bouillabaisse

Charcuterie
Farmhouse foie gras and the skills of the rural charcutier

Pâtisserie
The elegant arts of candying fruit and mixing chocolate

Wine
The world's finest wines? The vineyards of Bordeaux and Champagne