The culture of food in France: simple french food and a magical meal
Food. Behind every magical meal, there is that one thing that makes it special
I am a firm believer that the simplest way we get to understand people, their culture, their identity is through food. Sharing the culture of food. Sharing intimacy. Street food; Home cooked meals with locals; Renowned restaurants; Delicatessen; Local drinks; Markets. It is all part of the experience. When I hit the road, in my bag are my passport, my travel fork and spoon. My friends know my bag is jam-packed with local food whenever I return from a trip.
Growing up, food is very present
Food is a big deal in my life. My mummy got our taste buds in full swing when we were kids. If I close my eyes, I can recall some distinctive flavours. Some specific smell. I have been exploring France’s culinary delights for some time now. In a country with such mouthwatering cuisine and a strong wine culture, it is often that we get together to share.
Ask any french person, people take their food very seriously here. If often makes me smile. Here, when we are eating, it’s impossible not to talk about food. We love talking about food. We discuss the simple and comforting pleasure of eating. The richness and complexity of french food. Food thus wine is an integral part of french people identity.
My friend Louise likes to get us all together. Her flat is in one of those oldish buildings. To get the appetite roaring and the body in shape, I start by going up four flights of stairs. Yep, no lift.
As you enter the small and cosy flat, the wooden floor gently cracks under your feet
It’s early evening yet the temperature has gone past that comfortable point. The air inside feels dry and warm. The aroma of opened wine bottles tickles my nose. On the table Mouton Cadet, Morgon, Ventoux, Sauterne and Cotes du Rhone. Depeche Mode is playing in the cosy living room. I move towards the kitchen. Laughter; Noise; A strong smell of cheese; The sound of the knife hitting the chopping board. A funky cacophony.
Elbow to elbow in this compact kitchen, it is french identity in joyfulness. Happiness. Comfort. The evening kicks off with appetisers of various dry cured ham. The self proclaimed man in charge is busy with the saucissons. With his glass of whine on the side of course; Aude is very busy with the roasted vegetables kebab. Louise is piling on the cheeses on the cheese board.
To send us off into the night, Louise’s own mixology
That drink will hold it’s own out there: 3/4 bourgogne aligoté and 1/4 Louise’s granny homemade creme de cassis. Then comes the scrumptious ballet of cold meat, exquisite cheeses and different bottles of wine. we share a gorgeous selection of AOC cheeses “appelation d’origine controlée”. This means France’s quality control certificate. It’s a guarantee that a specific cheese is made according to specific requirements. They are made by craftsmen and are released for consumption when they have reached peak flavour.
Oh my… the cheeses. As far as the art of cheese-eating goes, this is right up there. Comté; Beaufort; Reblochon; Tome crayeuse; Bleu; To name but a few. This is not only cheese. It’s heritage. It’s identity and history. Taste, textures and flavours blends together. Dessert came and went. Sweet; light; A sheer moment of gourmandism.
Taking pictures with a smartphone in a room with dim light whilst giggling all along is not the best of combination 😉 Some food sharing moments leave an emotionally warm imprint in your heart. This is one of those.
xoxo M. Let’s share our inspiration