For many years I have thought that the reputation that the French have for their cooking is highly overrated; he questiom often asked is can the French cook?!
People who visit France, or even people who have never visited France, rave about French restaurants, about French chefs and indeed all things food related ‘en France’ but ‘pas mois’.
I have always felt somewhat confused that whilst the variety and standard of fresh produce available to purchase is excellent this is not always reflected when you eat out leading me to question whether indeed the its true that that the French cook well. As someone who loves to cook and enjoys food I am often disappointed when I eat out, regardless of where I am. I admit, I am not a great fan of small, overpriced portions, even when they are presented as small works of art! At the risk of sounding like a certain Mr Ramsay (who I am also not a fan of!!!), what I enjoy the most is fresh, flavourful food which I wouldn’t perhaps cook myself…
So to get to the point, can the French cook? I have always enjoyed excellent pizzas in France, cooked to near delicious perfection ‘au feu de bois’ (in a wood fired oven).
I adore their moules, with frites of course, infact most things avec les frites are pretty good, even ‘tartare de bœuf’!! However in general I have found French cuisine to be overly concerned with parts of the animal most of us would prefer not to know about, over fussed with and lacking in fresh vegetables … until now!
In the space of 3 weeks, aided and a betted by my friends ‘Américain’ I truly experienced the type of food, which
justifies all the acclaim bestowed upon the French chef!!
We didn’t eat in any Michelin starred restaurants (where, when you are paying a fortune you should be impressed), we ate in moderately priced, local restaurants. L’Artemise and Le Bec à vin in Uzès and La Gousse D’Aile in St Remy de Provence being some of our favourites. Ambience and service ‘par excellence’ not a strange body part, pizza or frite insight, where taste, flavor, presentation and value were all ‘très délicieux’!
They say a picture speaks a thousand words so I am not gointo attempt to do better than show you… But do the French know how to cook, ‘masi oui’! Maybe I had just been going to the wrong places…………..peut-être!