Bastille Day … Celebrating globally recognised French cuisine
The French are famous for their food, think croissant, escargot, coq au vin, souffle, boeuf bourguignon but what are the origins of these delicious French foods and why are they beloved across the world?
Arguably one the most famous of French foods is the humble (yet, delicious) croissant. Buttery, flaky, and tasty on its own or with a decadent filling (chocolate, ham & cheese, jam, the list is extensive). But where does the croissant come from and who invented it? The first verified evidence of the croissant (as we know it) was in France in approximately 1839 in a Viennese bakery, founded by August Zhang. August, a native of Vienna adapted the recipe of the traditional Austrian Kipferl, using the French puff pastry to create the lighter, fluffier croissant. The French word croissant translates to “crescent” or “the curved shape of the moon” referencing the shape of the pastry. Has this got you feeling hungry for croissants? Try our recipe for the ultimate breakfast croissant.
A famed delicacy of the French, escargot (land snails) has been eaten by people across the world for thousands for years. While land snails are also eaten across Europe and Asia, the French eat the largest percentage of escargot in the world. They even have a National Day of Celebration dedicated to the consumption of snails. How do you cook snails? The dish is prepared by purging the snails and removing them from their shells. They are then cooked in wine, dressed in butter and herbs and served hot after being returned to the shells. The texture is a little springy (not unlike abalone) with a flavour that is driven mostly by its dressing.
Coq Au Vin:
A signature dish of famous chef Julia Child, Coq au Vin is a rich and delicious dish of chicken braised with wine, mushrooms, bacon (or other salty pork cut), onions, garlic and often, brandy. Whilst traditionally made using burgundy, Coq au Vin can be made using a variety of wines. Want to try making your own? Check out our recipe for Coq au vin Blanc using white wine as the base for braising. This is a French recipe you’ll enjoy time and time again.
The Souffle was created in France in the early 18th century. This baked egg dish can be served as both a savoury and a sweet dish depending on your desired taste. Popular souffle flavours include cheese, chocolate and raspberry. Strange souffle fact: The Guiness World Record for the largest souffle is held by the Palestinian town of Nablus weighing 1765 kilograms and measuring 74 metres long.
Want to make your own souffle (not quite as large as the world record holder)? Check out this recipe for a delicious carrot souffle.
Also known as Beef Bourguignon, Beef Burgundy, and boeuf à la Bourguignonne, this is a French beef stew braised in red wine (seeing a theme here?) equally as famous as other French classics such as coq au vin. This tasty dish is a rich slow-cooked beef stew loaded with potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, onions and a bouquet garni (bundle of thyme, parsley and bay leaves). Rich and warming boeuf Bourguignon is the perfect winter meal to warm your cold bones.
Whether it’s a delicious pastry, a hearty stew or a morish dessert, we can certainly thank the French for the crème de la crème of cuisine.