When you think of France it’s impossible not to think of its food. From the delight of snails dripping with garlic butter mopped up with a freshly baked baguette, to the heady aromas of a hearty rabbit stew, to those often controversial frogs legs, and to the most delicious of oysters washed down with a glass of Champagne, France is synonymous with every gastronomic delight you can imagine.
In 2010 UNESCO recognised that French gastronomy is a "social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups". UNESCO acknowledged the French people’s cultural relationship to food, in their way of eating and cooking, and in their way of taking their meals. It is a whole art of the table, which combines good food, conviviality and conversation which have become significant elements of French civilization and identity. When invited to lunch in France do not expect to rush, instead, sit back, relax and be prepared to have the world set to rights.
With its miles of dramatic coastline serving up some of the world’s best fish and seafood, to its fields and mountains where all manner of meat and vegetables can be found in the daily markets, French cuisine is all about locally sourced ingredients and fresh local produce. Our JRE chefs pride themselves on cooking with what France’s fields and waterways serve up. And that is just the food, when we begin to look at the viticulture, you can get no better than France, from its robust Bordeauxs to its bubbly Champagnes, born of the widows of centuries ago, there is something to please every palate.
Eating in, Dining out
The French are still very attached to the ritual of the three main meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, whether at home or dining out. There are two significant peaks in the day of an adult, between 12 pm and 1:30 pm, for lunch, and between 7 pm and 8:30 pm, for dinner. A fun statistic is that at 12:30 pm 57% of French people are busy eating, compared to 38% of Belgians, 20% of Germans and only 14% of Britons. It is always very surprising for a visitor to see the French come to a stop at almost the same time all over the country to have their meal. It is clearly a cultural and historical fact, but it is also this regularity of these meals and the convivial meaning that they give to them, with 80% of them being eaten with company, which would preserve them from obesity. It is a beautiful paradox, where the pleasure of sitting down and eating together contributes to the maintenance of good health. A lesson we could all learn from.
For our JRE chefs and sommeliers, upholding this ideal of French food culture and contributing to its on-going, ever evolving heritage, is paramount and we are proud to be partnering with such inspiring young food evangelists.