Sample Essay on the Influence of Mediterranean Cuisine on French Cuisine

French Cuisine

Europe has amazing mixed qualities of food reflecting the etymological social mosaic in the continent. As a result of the wide variety that is caused by globalization process, it is quite difficult to establish origin of some of the foods since often, they date back to ancient times. There is the general notion that alludes to cooking styles of Europe and other Western nations which is European food incorporates that of Europe as well as non-indigenous cooking styles of North America, Latin America, Australasia and Oceania. Mostly, the term is used by East Asians for purposes of differentiating it from Asian cooking traditions and Asian food. On the other hand, when Westerners use it, it might imply particular cooking in Europe; in this context, it is the equivalent of continental food (David 16).

The styles of cooking used by the Western nations differ independently from each other as a result of the fact there are qualities that aid in recognizing them among styles of Asian and other countries. For instance, in contrast with conventional Asian cooking, meat is relatively cut into large sizes as a rule, the Westerners have training that is more profound on special serving systems particularly cutting of meat than Asian cooks. In the West, steak is one of the most common dish. Also, Western styles put significant accentuation on sauces as seasonings and fixings. In some cases, different sauces are used as backups in the event seasonings infiltrate the meat.

Despite the fact the potato has become the main starch plant in the European eating traditions, bread which is made from wheat flour has also become widely recognized along with dumplings, pastries and pasta (MacVeigh 11). Some of the Asian restaurants have invested a lot of time towards adopting diversity in their cuisine. This makes it possible for them to develop menus that feature a mixture of foods from Germany, France and English-speaking world. As such, from the start of the 1990s, Italian and Spanish dishes ended up being noticeable on these restaurants menus.

In Asia, the French mode of cooking has become very popular. Seemingly, recognized as one of the most refined on the planet (together with Chinese food), it was developed in the duration of hundreds of years of social and political changes. During ancient times, the French hosted extravagant feasts in celebration of leaders and they prepared fanciful foods like Guillaume Tirel. During the Revolution, the country experienced a move towards reduction of herbs and flavors. Celebrated French chef Auguste Escoffier later revolutionized the cooking methods in the country. Basque food, in addition produced incredible impact on cooking in southwest parts of France. The ingredients usually differ on basis of location. Numerous distinguishing territorial dishes have received recognition both locally and nationally. Most of the dishes that once were locally have flourished in diverse varieties over the territory in present times. Cheese and wine are also key ingredients in cooking assuming their numerous varieties and distinctions. (David 21).

French Cuisine and Its Local Impacts

Different parts in France offer unique dishes. While this is the case, most of them are celebrated throughout the globe and appreciated in all parts of the planet. Within their own specific location, one can uncover the diverse attributes that arise from the technique of preparation and the flavors, despite the possibility one can find all around France. Also in every place, they have their regular technique of choosing ingredients and cooking dishes. For example, tomatoes, different kinds of olive oil and herbs are important for Provence cuisine. Some other impacts of local cooking traditions are as listed below.

History and Economic Condition

The financial conditions, lifestyle and society obviously have framed local food conventions in unique ranges. The discovery of cheese was made in the mountainous regions since the regions experience persistent cold temperatures that cannot support traditional techniques of farming. When people talk about the economy, they usually discover that within restricted territories, cheese is known as the primary food processed in the mountains through use of animal products. Over some 100 years, the area of Burgundy investment success was amazing as a result of their uniqueness in raising cows which helped them in production of meat products and cream sauces.

Local Accessibility

It is a rule that fresh food is of high quality and included to the best dishes; obviously, France, the nation of gourmets realizes this fact. For example, the territories where herbs and fruits grow, they use them effectively as part of their dishes. In the same manner, inland zones are known not to consume a lot of ocean fish, yet, northwest beachfront places of France like Normandy and Brittany offer rich choice of ocean fish dishes (MacVeigh 21).

Neighboring Nations and Immigration

8French ways of cooking and food have greatly been influenced to a certain extent by other countries. Close to Italian fringe, for example, it will not be any surprise to find dishes that are of Italian origin. As a result of migrations, individuals of North African descent living in Southern part of France have incorporated their unique dished to the local cuisine. What is more, after several wars, the German border has shifted back into Alsace zone and recently, discoveries were made that German wine and Sauerkraut become exceptionally famous in these regions (David 26).

In all areas of France it is common for the homes and restaurants to offer food that is a reflection of the rich history and culture in the country. On the other hand, it has been commented on related impacts that regard to cooking traditions and ingredients. Local ingredients and formulas appear to be the best and the most accessible in any district. In this case, the sort of nourishment one desires to appreciate is dependent mostly on the decision of where they choose to live or the place the visit while in France,

Some of these examples include:

  • Fresh water fish can be found in inland areas like Loire Valley while seafood is mostly favored in Mediterranean regions and close to Atlantic coast.
  • Agriculture is encouraged in the areas around the south due to the host atmosphere which is conducive for plant growth. The people in this region therefore consume lots of leafy food and fruits.
  • Germans in the northeast of France for instance Lorraine and Alsace prefer Sauerkraut and beer
  • Apples, sour cream and margarine are loved in northwest region of the nation.
  • Olive oil, herbs and tomatoes are used mostly by Mediterranean Frenchmen.

Territorial Cooking Styles

Normandy and Brittany

Brittany is very popular due to its crepes. These can either be appetizing or sweet. Galettes- an appetizing pancake consumed normally with ham, cheese and an egg as the fillings is made using Buckwheat flour.


The North Champagne’s and Champagne’s fundamental commitment is evident, yet, being on Belgian outskirt, there are many likewise dishes of Flemish origin. The cooler temperature in the region also favors the growth of leeks, potatoes, watercress, endive, cabbages and leeks. Flamande is prepared by wrapping an endive in ham then serving it with white sauce. Carbonnade is the alternate exemplary dish, where the hamburger is progressively braised in onions and beer. A stew referred to as chaudree makes exceptional use of local fish. The city of Lille which is cosmopolitan in nature is a great producer of charcuterie and brew. Cake tastes exceptional with gaufres being around as the best known. Champagne is also recognized by the delectable paper-thin macaroon (MacVeigh 26).

Lorraine and Alsace

Both Lorraine and Alsace have been under Germany rule numerous times in the past and the impact of this is obvious if the number of neighborhood dishes are to be mentioned in which cabbage and cured pork are regular. Baeckeoffe is marinated meat that is skewed with vegetables. Choucroute alsacienne is salted cabbage which is seasoned with juniper berries then presented with pork knuckle, pork belly and hotdogs. On top of this, the locals revere in different kinds of appetizing tarts and pies which are known as tarte flambee or flammekuche, which is a small layer of baked food accompanied with pork belly, onion or cream (David 36).

The well-known food in Lorraine is Lorraine quiche. The dish, initially was cooked devoid of cheese, yet in most modern formulas, it is added and also includes ham, seafood and vegetables to the compulsory blend of eggs and cream.

Bordeaux and Burgundy

Bordeaux and Burgundy dishes make liberal use of well-known red and white wines. Burgundy is known for having the best hamburgers in France and it is also known for its boeuf bourguignon. On top of this, it is home to Dijon mustard which is likely to upgrade taste of numerous dishes. The most loved alternate lasting is chicken in red wine and in the region it is thought of as one of the grandest escargot in France. Bordeaux on the other hand is best described as a carnivore nation and entrecote marchand de vin-rib steak is its most praised food prepared with local rich shallots, bone marrow spread, herbs, wine and flavor. Sweet treats include canneles and the well-known worldwide marrons (MacVeigh 31).


The Basque Country, Gascony and Languedoc-Roussillon

These are areas found on the Spanish border and owing to use of different kinds of peppers, zesty sausages and tomatoes, their dishes impart numerous similitudes as those of Spain. Cassoulet (dish with meat and beans) is Languedoc’s mark dish; Roussilon too, with tapas-style china served in majority of the wine bars. Gascon china is usually prepared with heaps of salt, fat and meat. Garbure is a stew that is thick cooked with meats, flavors, vegetables and herbs. Basque Poulet is a stew of chicken prepared with tomatoes, white wine, peppers and onions. Additionally piperade is a Basque solace cooking-peppers, onions and tomatoes cooked with ham and eggs. The Bayonne ham, is usually served cut with bread (David 46).

The South of France and Provence

This region has a sublime climate to thank for its flavorsome and beautiful fortes such as ratatouille and green Nicosia. The region is one of the highly popular in France due to its high caliber of leafy foods and herbs. The local dishes include olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and large amounts of crisp herbs. It is not a location popular for meat food; though a winter staple is boeuf en daube-hamburger which is stewed with onions, red wine, herbs and vegetables. Its most popular dish is probably bouillabaisse, which is a generous fish soup that overflows with crab, mussels, shellfishes or lobster, served as the principle course and joined by rouille-a zesty mayonnaise that is prepared with olive oil, fish stock, warm bread, stew and garlic.

Commodities Utilized

Frenchmen make the assumption cooking sauces are an important part of culinary tradition. As such, they have an array of sauces produced:

  • Espagnole-brown sauce of stock
  • Veloutte-white cause of stock
  • Béchamel-milk and a roux
  • Tomate-Also referred to as tomatoe
  • Hollandaise-Also known as eggs

These sauces just form the basis of Careme’s collection of over 100 plus sauces. They are used for purposes of adding distinctive blend to flavorings of local sauces. French cuisine is never complete without the notice of its breads which include the baguette, pain rustique and fougase. Apart from water and bread, backups that are well known to a French dish include cheddar and wine. Unlike is the case in other nations, Frenchmen appreciate the fact wine is a usual part of the ordinary dinners and as such, it is deemed unreasonable to save it for extraordinary events. During daily suppers, standard wine is served despite the fact it is common the wine chosen should match ingredients used in the food.

Though cheddar is used in cooking, it is frequently served as a separate course after the main course and before dessert. Such a course often comprises of 3 or 4 separate cheeses. Sliced bread is often offered in the meantime. Different dishes are an indication that the French have a particular preference for crisp vegetables. Indeed, vegetables, which are a backup are treated as unreasonable nourishment; only the best vegetables are used such as leeks, courgette, carrots, haricots, potatoes and turnips. Peppers and aubergine are collected from the fields. Mixtures that are tomato based like herbs and sauces are also added in order to give flavors. The admiration of the Frenchmen regarding eggs is clear in numerous unique dishes. For instance, they like eggs when mixed with vegetables such as ratatouille or pureed spinach. In these dishes, the eggs have smooth leeks.

Chestnuts and mistletoe are also loved in Brittany and they are included in most suppers. For majority of Frenchmen cooking, is a process that is more inclined on the quality rather than quantity of food. Saffron, olives, lemon, virgin oil and garlic are all used for purposes of enhancing flavor. The styles used by the French in cooking are based on their sauces. The sauces mixtures are boundless since different kinds of ingredients are used within different blends. Dairy products such as cream also are popular. An assortment of herbs are also used in cooking such as marjoram, lavender, basil, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, tarragon and rosemary (David 66).

Cooking Styles

Each district in France has its specific dissimilar conventions regarding ingredients and arrangement. Additionally, there are 3 general methodologies, which content with each other:

  • Classical French cooking which incorporates all established French dishes which are localized in different provinces. However, as a result of migration, they were introduced to other regions. Nourishment is filling and rich, with most of the dished with cream-based sauces. The most advanced and compelling French cooking tradition is Haute cuisine and it is rich in flavor as well. Dinners are often overwhelming, especially because of adding cream and expansive parts or several diminutive allotments.
  • Cuisine Nouvelle: It was in the 1970s that improvements were made to this style as a response to established school of cooking. The sustenance is lighter and less complex. Segments are also less rich and more diminutive; the substantial cream sauces of established methodology are often escaped. Cooking is also speedier and less expound, with additional accentuation made on occasional and local parts.
  • Cuisine du terroir-This concentrates on local fortes and in nature, it is provincial. Local sustenance and produce conventions are of great importance.

All these three customs are characteristic of France with each having its own supporters and representative master restaurants. Currently, cuisine Nouvelle is less prominent than it initially was while cuisine du Terroir has become more popular over the last couple of decades (MacVeigh 41).

Cooking Systems

  • Baking blind-This is a system that heats baking case before it is included in a filling, making the cake spongy
  • Baste-It dampens sustenance with fat
  • Braising-Includes burning the nourishment first at high temperatures in order to form delightful fluid10
  • Beurre Manie-It is a cooking fluid system arrangement in which the equivalent partition of flour and margarine is mixed to glue and raced into stewing. This kind of cooking fluid is used for purposes of thickening.
  • Implantation-A strategy for concentration qualities by steeping them in hotter fluid
  • Flambéing-a dangerous procedure to some degree used to add essence to sustenance at the end of the cooking process.
  • Sautéing-Low fat system for quality cooking
  • Poaching-technique to stew nourishment and carry out delicate surface
  • Barbecuing-cooking style that uses steer warm. The sustenance is placed on metal grind leaving barbecue stamp.
  • Provencale-cooking system that uses olive oil tomato, mushroom, herbs and garlic.
  • En Papillotte-Cooking system in which nourishment is placed into collapsed pocket then heated in its own juice.


  • A mandolin is used to cut vegetables into immaculate, uniform shapes, waffle cuts, incorporating cuts or julienne cuts. It is far better than a dish processor.
  • A Chinoise is strainer that is tapered used to make impeccably smooth sauces and soups.
  • A lame is a small device with an edge that is well sharpened towards one side, it is used for slicing cuts into bread before they are placed in the broiler.
  • A moving croissant cutter is used to slice the mixture into appropriate size and shape.


Works Cited

David, Elizabeth. Elizabeth David Classics: Mediterranean Food, French Country Cooking, Summer Cooking. Newton, Mass: Biscuit Books, 1998. Print.

MacVeigh, Jeremy. International Cuisine. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.