top of page

Featured Country of the month: France

I was feeling quite brave when this suggestion came through my Instagram - France is a biggun.

French cuisine is renowned worldwide as one of the most pioneering in terms of technique and is responsible for so many of what we now take for granted as essential skills for a chef. Sauteing, braising, confit, poaching (and many more) all come from the French tradition of cooking. Restaurants as a concept were invented in France as well as the idea of ‘fine dining’ or ‘haute cuisine’. Just think about it - how many cooking terms can you think of are indisputably French?

The influence of French cooking can be seen across the entire world, largely through colonization - the Vietnamese Banh Mi being a perfect example of such - the French brought their techniques with them wherever they went and this is evident in many dishes still to this day.

A level of reverence is held for french cooking that meant that this felt like a bit of a challenge - did it also mean having to eat lots of cheese and drink lots of wine? Yes, yes it did but these are the kind of sacrifices I am willing to make for this newsletter.

The current influence of French cuisine has been regularly called into question. Some people think that an aura of complacency around French cuisine and a reluctance to be influenced by new global players on the scene has led to a drought of French innovation. If you are interested in the like, I thoroughly recommend a read of this article which explores this phenomenon further.

However, French influence on the culinary world is indisputable; why else would the vast majority of the culinary world agree to be ranked and rated by a French tubby tyre man (yes I’m referring to Michelin stars). Without even trying to explore French cuisine, I have already documented my attempts at macarons, galette, tartiflette, croissants, profiteroles and bourguignon on my instagram account; such is the omnipresence of French cooking.

Given everything you have just read, I hope you will forgive me for indulging slightly this month and instead of the usual three dishes, I have explored four (five if you count the two souffles as separate).

Cassoulet

About

When I was deciding which dishes to do, Cassoulet almost got the boot. Too simple I thought, It’s just meat and beans right? Much like Feijoada, a Brazilian meat and bean dish I explored here, the sum of the whole is far greater than the individual parts. As I read more about the dish I realised it was a must try and not quite as simple as it first appeared.

Originally a peasant dish, Cassoulet is typically made from scraps of meat that were available depending on region and time of year. The type of bean can also vary depending on region and personal preference. The recipe I chose to follow comes from Felicity Cloake’s ‘