France is known worldwide for its gastronomy and its natural refinement in terms of cuisine. This french traditions of eating well are not just for the elites, and the typical day of an average Frenchman is punctuated by culinary traditions. Do you know them all? Breakfast is the first meal of the day. France is one of the few countries where you eat sweet in the morning. No bacon or eggs here, everything revolves around the pastries: croissant, pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins, and butter-jam bread. Many walk (or cycle) to the nearest bakery to buy freshly baked pastries. Have you ever heard of the snack? This is probably the favorite meal of all schoolchildren: a sweet snack that the French enjoy around 4 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. – right after school. Bread and hot chocolate, brioche, cookies or even cake, snack time is definitely a good time. Last but not least, the aperitif is synonymous with conviviality: this light snack made up of peanuts, sausage, olives and other tapas is an excuse to have a drink – pastis, port, clairette, rosé or beer – and whet your appetite. It’s the key of excellence à la française.
The lunch break
In France, indeed, the time of the meal is sacred! This is how our lunch break lasts longer than in many other countries. Even if some employees are satisfied with a simple sandwich or a snack prepared at home, the meridian break lasts forty minutes on average and it is out of the question to make concessions on this achievement! It’s a french traditions! On this point, the figures speak for themselves: a recent survey showed that a third of American employees and 45% of the British skip lunch. The French, on the other hand, are only 11% to do so themselves.
Bread, an essential product of French gastronomy
Bread accompanies all meals even if its consumption has greatly decreased. The french traditions on average the equivalent of half a baguette per day, three times less than in the 1950s. Handcrafted, the « tradition » baguette remains the favorite of the inhabitants of France, who appreciate its honeycomb crumb and its incomparable crust. Who doesn’t like to cross the threshold of a bakery in the early hours of the morning and smell the scent of crispy breads and freshly baked croissants.
Indeed, our traditional breakfast is an important time to start the day well, even if its composition is not the most balanced! Usually it is a fairly light meal. Often including too many carbohydrates and little protein, it can’t always avoid the 11-hour « snack ». Buttered toast, jam, baguette, pastries (pains au chocolat, croissants, etc.), hot drinks (coffee, tea, etc.) form the basis of the traditional « breakfast ».
The number of three meals a day is the norm (except perhaps for the children who have a habit of having a snack after school.) What is true is that the meal is a moment of sharing and conviviality. that accompanies the important moments of life. Only 20% of French people like to eat their meals alone. Does this mean that you don’t snack and that no one happens to « eat on the go »? No, because the French remain big fans of sandwiches as evidenced by the 2.4 billion units consumed in France each year! Note that half are ham and butter, which means that the inhabitants remain attached to their traditions and that the hamburger does not yet hold a monopoly!
No meal without cheese
The French are still big cheese lovers and that’s quite normal for the leading producers in the world. It’s the best food in the french traditions. Did you know that there are more than a thousand different cheeses and that the French consume nearly 20 kg of them per year and per person? Emmental, Camembert and Coulommiers remain the most popular, but Comté, Brie, Tome de Savoie, Reblochon and Roquefort occupy pride of place on the housewife’s table.
The « great classics »
What are the favorite dishes of the inhabitants of France? Difficult to say since the content of the plate varies depending on the region, age or social background. However, there are essential dishes of our gastronomy. For sociologists, these great classics appear to be “comforting” during difficult times. The veal blanquette, a famous in the french traditions, preparation based on rice, button mushrooms, carrots and veal is one of these sure values. Its name comes from the white sauce made from broth and the accompanying crème fraîche. Another example of those slow-cooked, convivial dishes that many families enjoy is the pot-au-feu. It takes its name from the cauldron which was once used for its cooking and which the ancients placed on the fire in the fireplace. A good pot-au-feu consists of beef meat (gîte, chuck, rib dish, etc.) cooked in vegetable broth and accompanied by potatoes, turnips, carrots, cabbage, leeks, etc. Don’t forget to include a marrow bone and, rather than a pressure cooker, prefer cooking in a good old casserole!
National and local desserts
Regarding desserts, no need to say that French pastry has an international reputation. Desserts have an important place in French traditions! Cherry clafoutis, crème brûlée, tarte tatin, cream puffs, Paris-Brest or the famous chocolate éclairs are among the most popular pastries. How about an iconic dessert from the French Riviera? Our choice will be the sweet chard pie or « tourta de blea » in Nice (remember that chard is a vegetable plant used in gratins and soups.) This is a tart in which a mixed filling is incorporated. chard, apples, pine nuts and raisins. A true icon of French Riviera cuisine that can be easily tested in Antibes, this dessert is a real delight!
If you are interested, you can check out our article on champagne and our article on French service.
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