Tuesday, 7 July 2015

French food? Yes please!

French café.

So it's pretty well known that the French have some of the best food in the world, and that the English have some of the worst; now while I put my foot down when anyone at all says that English food is terrible (Cadburys Flakes - am I right?), I will gladly admit that the French food is, let's say, AMAZING. All you have to do is think of Brie, Baguette, garlic being used in every dish (not so much a myth as it is a fact), croissants...I could go on all night.

First off, there's Bouillabaisse, which originates from Marseille. It's a meal in its own right, which can contain different types of fish like loup de mer (sea bass), rouget (red mullet), etc. and shell fish. it is cooked in a stock and served with a spicy red pepper, quite fiery, and garlic mayonnaise (warned you about the garlic) called rouille which you spread on croutons and spinkle with cheese.


Salads and fresh sun ripe tomatoes (my mouth is watering just writing this) are typical of the region.
For the meat eaters, lamb, beef and rabbit are plentiful but used sparingly in stews and casseroles and can be served with provençale sauces or braised in vegetables and red wine.
The fish and shell fish are world renowned and include moules (mussels - I only recently started to like these, and now I can't get enough), gambas (giant prawns), palourdes (clams) and crab and lobster.

Local cheeses in this area are usually made from goats' milk (chevres) or ewes' (brebis) which can be ovtained from Provencal markets. These markets are also famed for their large variety of fresh fruits and Herbes de Provence.

Delicious French cheese. 

Typical French market.

Camargue red rice is a variety of rice cultivated in the wetlands. It is a short-grained and unmilled variety of rice and has a nutty taste. It is quite interesting to see the rice growing in the wetlands and, of course, buy some to try at home.

Camargue - the home of the red rice. 

As in all of France, there are many restaurants in the Provence area. I'll list a few below, in different areas of the region. Nothing actually surpasses walking in the towns and finding suitable restaurants and most are exceptionally welcoming and the food extremely good. Whether dining in a 6 star restaurant or a 1 or 2 star, on the whole you will have a really great experience. Of course there are other cuisines to experience in the region and one you may like to try is North African Cuisine.

Restaurants in Avignon - Christian Etienne, Restaurant Moutardier
Restaurants in Saint Remy de Provence - Le Bistrot des Alpilles
Restaurants in Marseille - La Bouillabaisse, l'Epuisette

Other specialities of the region are anchoiade - an anchovy tart and passaladière - an onion tart with black olives. These can either be served as a starter or eaten as a snack, and it's actually pretty tasty!

The Cote d'Azur is a great place to go to for food as well, there are so many restaurants on the French Riviera; they display their menus outside so you can see the prices in advance, which is really helpful. The prix fixe or set price menus are generally the best value. The main types of food are either Provençal or Niçois and the whole region is dominated by the delicious mix of olive oil, onion, fresh tomatoes, black olives, anchovies and garlic. Most dishes, vegetable or meat, includes these ingredients.

French onions. 

French olives.

And on that note, it's time for my lunch!