The gastronomy of France has always delighted and intrigued me at the same time. For a country that is as vast as it is interesting in this way, I thought about embarking on a deep study of each of its regions, as the only possible way to get immersed in the spirit of the true French cuisine, wine industry and hospitality in general. (It’s a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it!).
The French are a passionate people. They feel strongly about almost everything, from politics to fashion, and food is no exception. One can be invited to dinner at someone’s house and the topic of conversation, during the whole soireé, would be the food eaten that evening. Is the wine appropriate for the cheeses served? What about the bread and how it paired with the entreé? Should the dessert have been lighter or heavier? These are all questions that the true gourmets – and gourmands too, why not? – ask themselves all the time, and to which they all enjoy providing different, and more refined answers every time they’re pondered.
The best place to start a tour of gastronomic France seems to me none other than its capital itself and the region immediately surrounding it. Paris, the City of Light, of lovers, passions, luxury, splendid architecture, the city I aspire to move to one day, is the first focal point for my gourmet adventure.
Paris is an ancient city. In it one can find the marks of all the different times the city has lived through, ever since it was first conquered by the Romans in 52 BC. When the Parisii (the first inhabitants of Paris) lived in it the city was called Lutetia.
The paradox of Paris:
|Take your pick of premium cuts of meat at Rungis.|
Photo © David Leibovitz
|Abundance of produce at Rungis Market|
Just like Rachel Khoo says in the introduction to her series “The Little Paris Kitchen”, the world generally finds French cuisine as difficult and fussy to prepare, something to be considered only for special occasions. Yet Parisians eat very simple, uncomplicated food day in and day out. Long are the days of the 20 course meals in places like Le Procope or L’Tour d’Argent of yesteryear.
As I immerse myself in the local discovery of the gastronomic Parisian culture, I intend to live like a Parisian where I currently reside in Orlando. If nothing else, just to use it as a preparation for my first visit to Paris in the near future. Join me in my next post to see how a Parisian would start her day.