The French have elevated food into an art form. Nowhere else on earth is so much attention paid to what people are going to eat and how they are going to eat it. The reason is steeped in history – the fostering of the royal court, the subsequent revolution, the discipline of the apprentice system, the quality of ingredients and creativity of the chefs, the availability of incredible produce and simply, the love of good food.
The focus on food has elevated French chefs to almost godlike status and one of the symbols is the coveted Michelin star system that rates chefs and restaurants. Published since 1900, it awards stars to a very small number of European restaurants of outstanding quality.
There are many regions with their own specialty foods, and the origin of produce is of critical importance – from cheese and butter to salt and wine, the DOC symbol denoting its origin is highly prized. Many people shop every day to source the freshest produce and local markets are an essential part of life.
French cuisine has developed fine techniques and perfected the equipment needed for many jobs. Some families pass on treasured cooking pots and crêpe pans through generations.
Like so many countries, the character of the food varies considerably by region. Paris is famous for its incredible cheeses, chocolates, pastries and gateaux; the centre is known for its hearty peasant fare, pâté and clafoutis (a kirsch-laden dark cherry pie); Burgundy is home to coq au vin, Dijon mustard and escargots; coastal Brittany has abundant fresh seafood, such as moules marinières (mussels in white wine) and moules frites (mussels with French fries); and Bordeaux is synonymous with many of the most decadent of French foods – foie gras, truffles, duck confit, and fine wines and cognac.
From the simplest crusty baguette eaten with ripe brie to a beautiful lobster bisque or hearty boueuf bourguignon, France is heaven for any food lover.
View our French recipe collection here.
This delicate dessert made with fresh soft cheese is a speciality of Gabriel’s native home of Anjou in France. The coeur or "heart" is moulded in a special heart-shaped porcelain dish that is perforated with holes to drain off the excess moisture of the cheese. (A colander can be used as an alternative, although you won’t end up with the same pretty shape.) The cheese traditionally used in this recipe is fromage blanc, but quark, which is more widely available in Australia, can be used instead.
It’s the simplicity of this traditional fish recipe from the city of Grenoble in the French Alps that is so seductive – it takes less than 15 minutes to cook and looks and tastes sensational.
Whip up this classic French dessert at your next dinner party to end the meal with a bang! Flambéing the crepes in front of your guests will ensure this recipe is a winner – and your hosting skills will be remembered for years to come.
This beautiful winter stew from Normandy combines lamb, turnips (navets), carrots and potatoes. Chef Philippe Mouchel uses lamb shoulder and ribs cut into large pieces, but the recipe also works well with lamb neck. Philippe likes to serve it with celeriac puree and believes cooking the celeriac in milk helps to retain its lovely pale colour.
Guillaume loves the decadence of cooking an enormous wagyu rib eye steak on the bone thatâ€™s in excess of one kilogram, to serve several people. Itâ€™s a showstopper of a steak that will spoil you for anything less. He browns it on the grill then transfers it to the oven, and one of his secrets is "the Guillaume massage" of garlic, bay leaves and thyme.
This recipe will also work nicely for a standing rib roast with a few ribs attached. Guillaume includes his recipe for Paris potatoes.
A mix of simple ingredients and clever techniques makes the light and creamy masterpiece that is soufflé. Use the best cheese you can source and serve straight away. For a tasty variation, try Vincent Gadan's raspberry souffle recipe. Also, browse our cake recipes for more sweet inspiration.