When it comes to food one nation seems to have a distinct advantage, having enjoyed a long history of good food and fine dining. When it comes to quality ingredients, quality food and excellent presentation the French seem to have it all. But in actual fact it’s not as difficult as some people imagine it is to enjoy the same sort of quality and style as traditional French food.
The first thing to be aware of is of course that there is no such thing as French food. France is a big country, and geographically speaking has a wide variety of different environmental conditions. From the West Coast to North Coast, from the border with Germany and the Alpine border to the fresh lush valleys and the wide open countryside, there are opportunities galore for growing and fishing a variety of quality ingredients.
If you’ve ever been to France to enjoy a few culinary delights then you may well have discovered already that as you travel around the country there are many different styles of cooking, and even different tendencies towards certain types of ingredients.
But having said that there is still a certain pattern which you can pick up on, and emulate relatively easily. The first thing to notice is that the French are extremely keen on fresh, natural ingredients. This means that they pay a great deal more attention to seasonal products, as well as sourcing locally grown products.
It is too easy to go to the supermarket and pick up whatever ingredients you like, regardless of which country they may have come from, and whether it is technically in season or not. Just because something can be grown, doesn’t mean that it is going to have the same delicious, natural flavour which it ought to given more natural growing conditions.
But another thing the French are very much into is herbs. In this country we don’t tend to really use herbs very much at all. It’s almost as though people are afraid of getting it wrong. I have often had people ask me what herbs go best with a particular type of food. Whilst there are general guidelines and recommendations there is no such thing as a right or wrong combination. Sometimes it is worth just experimenting and see how it turns out. If it tastes good then who cares whether or not that particular combination was found in a cookbook?
So if you enjoy French food, and you would like to improve the quality and taste of your own food then you can either buy French food online through various retailers who will be happy to deliver quality ingredients to your door, or you can also simply enjoy using more herbs in your cooking, and paying more attention to what is in season, and to focus on using ingredients which have been grown, fish or picked more locally.