“La cuisine française est une merveille gastronomique” — Paul Ebeling
Everyone has heard of the greatness of French food, but not all have dined on it. It is of the most appetizing cuisines in the world, and there is a culture behind it in France.
I have learned the these are the most important nuances of French food, dining culture, and restaurant experience in France.
Perhaps they’ll be the perfect motivation to start learning to speak French.
Food brings people together. The French know this, and they cherish the time they get to spend with each other over a meal. In fact, UNESCO declared French cuisine a “world intangible heritage”. But, there is a lot more to French food than just a meal. The art of cooking, tasting, and experiencing combine is French cuisine, as it is Art.
If you want to experience life as a French person when you are in France, the best way to do that is to eat like them. After all, food is a crucial part of daily life in France.
Mealtimes are early mornings for breakfast, 11:30 am to 1 pm for lunch, and 7:30 pm to 9 pm for dinner.
For breakfast, a typical French person would eat a croissant with butter and jam. They’d drink coffee with milk called cafe au lait with it. Traditionally, this kind of coffee is served from small bowls, and there’s a genius reason behind it: it is better to dip their croissants into it.
Unlike in America, lunch the big meal in France. For lunch, French people meet up, and order at restaurants. French people order a 3-course meal with wine, lunch cat take up to 2 hrs.
Dinner is the ‘crème de la crème’ of all French food culture. Dinner can be a social outing to a restaurant, or a home-cooked meal. Either way, it’s going to be super. Typically, French dinners include an entré, a main course, and a dessert. All paired with great French wines.
How to Behave in a French Restaurant
The dining experience in France comes with a set of rules and visitors are expected to know them out of courtesy. It is good to know the basic rules of French dining, as it is an important part of French food culture. Use these rules as guidance when you eat out in France, as follows:
- Wait for “Bon appétit!”: The meal does not begin until the host announces “Bon appétit!” to which the guests are expected to respond with the same phrase. The same happens with wine. You can take the 1st sip once the host and you exchanged a toast.
- Eat with cutlery: Use your knife, fork, and spoon to eat your food. It is a very important part of French etiquette. The cutlery in front of you: start with the knife and fork on the outside, and work your way closer to your plate. Your waiter will take away unnecessary cutlery when the time comes.
- Never point with your knife: If you are eating and talking at the same time do not wave your hand and knife around as it is very rude to point your knife at someone.
- Bread with your hands: The only acceptable food you can eat with your hands at the dinner table is bread, do not push your food or wipe your plate with it.
- Eat all your food: The French view leftover food as wasteful. Make sure you finish your entire meal.
- Do not get drunk: Wine is served throughout the meal, the wine is for the taste, not for the alcohol.
Michelin Stars are the highest award a restaurant can achieve. While there are lots of restaurants across the globe that have won this distinction, France has the most three Michelin Star restaurants in all of Europe. It is currently tied with Japan at 27 3-Star Michelin restaurants.
If you are traveling to France, that’s a great motivation to pick up some useful French phrases. But, it’s even better to know French to order food. Live the life of authentic French people as you ask your waiter for your favorite French dish. And, this daydream can turn into a reality if you lean a bit of French.
Today, from where ever you are in the world you can learn to speak French, chase the best app for you.
Mangez sainement, soyez en bonne santé, vivez en pleine forme aka Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively