There are over 150 thousand vineyards in France. And this is without taking into account small private farms that produce exclusive products. Wine tours in the French provinces are becoming more and more popular. Yes, they used to be considered entertainment exclusively for wealthy tourists. Today, such excursions sometimes cost no more than classic “overviews”.
Let's talk a little about French wines and the most interesting wine tours. It's time to fly to France for the main gastronomic souvenir!
We'll talk about the classification of wines by region of production a little later. To begin with, let's figure out what the "mandatory" inscriptions mean.
Watch a short video where an expert explains how to read the label correctly.
The color of the wine (white, red or pink) depends on which grape was used to create it. The most popular varieties in France are: Cabernet (Fran and Sauvignon), Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Grenache.
Another classification - by sweetness (the content of residual sugar per 1 liter in grams is indicated in parentheses):
"Oh, these Frenchmen, they are such gourmets!" - say many, referring to French cuisine. The French cannot be attributed to amateurs simply to fill their belly with a huge amount of food. France is a country of gourmets, connoisseurs of cuisine. French cuisine is small portions, the saturation of which is achieved by adding sauces (there are more than 3000 of them in French cuisine), picky choice of ingredients, elegant serving, as well as a variety of wines and cheeses. All this allows French cuisine to be one of the best in the world of culinary.
It is very easy to distinguish a foreigner from a Frenchman by the way he eats. The Frenchman will not hastily gobble up his meal on both cheeks, the main thing for him is to enjoy every bite and accompany the meal with a leisurely conversation. Do you want to eat like a Frenchman? Order a Lyon salad, a glass of Bordeaux, sit on the terrace facing the street and enjoy while watching the passers-by scurrying along the sidewalk.
As early as the 4th century, the French cookbooks mentioned such exquisite ingredients as saffron for coloring dishes, almonds and milk for a rich taste, and rose water for aroma. During the Renaissance, salty and viscous dishes were in vogue, and mushrooms came into fashion - albeit with sad consequences: they were often cooked incorrectly, and dinner ended in poisoning. From ancient Roman culinary traditions, the love of wine came to French cuisine. The French were firmly convinced that wine promoted a healthy appetite and digestion. Let's not argue with them.
A real revolution in French cuisine took place after the Italian Catherine de 'Medici became the wife of Henry II. Firstly, she brought Italian chefs with her, and secondly, she taught the French people simple but necessary things: wash their hands before eating and use cutlery, in particular, forks. The Medici made the meal a whole experience: beautiful plates for food and glasses made of rare glass began to be used. And under Louis XIV, there were traditions to serve dishes alternately and to use silverware.
By the beginning of the 20th century, it is not the monarchs who come to the fore, but the culinary specialists themselves. The famous French chef Antoine Karem, one of the first representatives of "haute cuisine", came up with intricate baked goods in the windows of pastry shops to attract visitors. His successor Auguste Escoffier opened the world to French cuisine, was called "the king of chefs and chef of kings", and his "Culinary Guide" is still used as a collection of recipes and a textbook of culinary art. Until now, outstanding French chefs are considered national heroes in society.
In 1900, the Michelin Red Guide for travelers appeared in France, which is now the most influential restaurant rating in the world. The guide will award one to three stars to establishments that deserve special attention. The owner of a French tire company, André Michelin, initially ranked the establishments' price range in his guide by the number of stars: one star is cheap, three is very expensive. Now the presence of a Michelin star on the signboard of the institution testifies to the high quality of the cuisine and the rather high price of the dinner.
Traditionally, French cuisine is divided into regional folk and refined aristocratic. You cannot leave France without tasting the onion soup, which has a history spanning centuries. Potato gratin, fried chestnuts, duck leg confit, fondue - the gastronomic delights are endless! Burgundy escargot snails, oysters, foie gras pate, frog legs - the French love these delicacies, but they are not eaten very often. But almost every region of France can boast of being the homeland of some kind of dish, drink or dessert.
Alsace has absorbed a lot from its neighbor Germany. They like pretzel pretzel, pickled cabbage with sausages, stewed hare, tart flambé (thin pizza with classic onion, bacon and cream filling). Hot wine mulled wine, all kinds of schnapps, sausages and pates have also taken root on French soil. The most original Alsatian dish is rooster in wine. While in Alsace, do not deny yourself the pleasure of tasting the local Münster cheese, and do not let its scent scare you away.
Normandy is famous for its apple orchards, which is why they love apple pie for dessert. Cider and Calvados are the most popular drinks in the region. Strong Calvados is used as a digestive aid to improve digestion, so order a glass after your meal. But cider is a light drink, and it (like other alcohol) is generously added to meat for a special taste: duck in cider, offal in cider, Norman duck, Rouen duck. All kinds of omelets and pancakes are very popular in this region. Among the cheeses, the local celebrity is Camembert, which appeared in Normandy.
In France you can taste dishes that will be remembered for a lifetime. Gastronomy in this country has been elevated to the rank of art, and the French presentation of dishes is included in the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List. Contrary to rumors, they don't eat tons of frogs here - it's more of a delicacy. And fast food in France is not banned - the street food industry is booming. We will tell you what you need to try in Paris and other cities of the country in the first place. We will advise what products to bring home as tasty souvenirs or to master French cuisine. Descriptions of dishes with photos will help you not to get lost in this gastronomic paradise.
French desserts, cheeses, winners have dedicated separate articles. It is really worth talking about them in more detail. Be sure to read before the trip - it will come in handy.
Perhaps the first thing every tourist needs to eat in France. This is not just a dish, but a little perfection on the plate. It's hard to believe that onion soup is so easy to make. The French claim that the recipe for the dish was invented by Louis XV himself. The king got hungry while hunting, and in the forest house there was nothing but onions, oil and wine. After frying the onion until golden brown, he sautéed it in wine until it turned into a soup.
Today you can taste the same dish in the best restaurants in Paris (don't worry if you come to eat with children - wine is not always added). It is often sprinkled with a thick layer of cheese and served with a slice of baguette or croutons. This is a surprisingly simple yet delicious dish that is definitely worth eating at least once in your life.
Onion soup in France is sold even in cans. Not as tasty as in eateries or restaurants, but this product will make a great gastronomic souvenir.
Food in France is impeccable to the smallest detail, and kok-o-ven is a great example of this. Cheap wine is not suitable for its preparation: the chicken must be stewed in the same drink that will be served at the table. There are many recipes for this French dish, so you need to try it in every region of the country. A rooster in Burgundy wine is considered a classic. The meat cooked in local wine is deliciously tender. The products complement each other harmoniously. Once in France, be sure to order coq au vin for dinner - thousands of reviews from satisfied tourists prove that it is almost impossible to be disappointed in this food.
The French are so passionate about food that they follow the rules of traditional serving every day, never eat on the run, and are their dishes always delicious? Not true. Come to Paris and you will quickly find that street food is just as popular in France. Yes, in this country they really love to eat beautifully and thoroughly, but this is not always possible.