Recipe Index

Global Bites Project | French Cuisine

Posted on November 14, 2012


France map


French cuisine is thought of as the trendsetter in food and the best of the best chefs. I was pretty intimidated to attempt to cook French dishes and to write about what makes French cooking unique, so I decided to dive in mouth first.

My Adventure

For this adventure, I started with Chicken Normandy. This dish is from the Normandy (Normandie) region, as the name suggests, and uses Camembert cheese and Calvados (apple brandy) from the same region. Dishes from Normandy frequently use milk, cream, and apples, all of which are abundant there.

chicken normandy

Next I made Buckwheat Crêpes with Ham and Cheese. This dish is from the Brittany (Bretagne) region where both savory and sweet crêpes are often served.

buckwheat crepes with ham, cheese, and egg

Next I made Beef Tournedos in Red Wine Sauce from Jacques Pépin's Essential Pépin cookbook. I couldn't find the specific origin of this dish but I would guess that it's from the Burgundy (Bourgogne) region because of the red wine and mustard.

beef tournedos in red wine sauce

Next I made Quiche Lorraine again from Jacques Pépin's Essential Pépin. This dish comes from the Alsace-Lorraine region near Germany.

quiche lorraine

Next I made Coq au Vin also from Jacques Pépin's Essential Pépin. This dish is from the Burgundy (Bourgogne) region, although this particular recipe is more modern and light.

coq au vin

Next I made Bifteck Sauté Bercy from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

bifteck saute bercy

Next I made Pommes Anna. This recipe is from a cooking class that I took a few years ago.

pommes anna

Finally, I made an Apple Galette from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home cookbook.

apple galette

Recipes for French cuisine can be found here. I am always adding more, so check back!

For my restaurant selection, we went to Café Claude in San Francisco. Here is what we had:

Chèvre Salad

chevre salad at Cafe Claude

Tarte au Pissaladière

tarte au pissaladiere at Cafe Claude

and Steak Frites.

steak frites at Cafe Claude

I wanted to try macarons. (Yes, even though I have been to Paris, I failed to eat macarons.) I got these at Amour Patisserie in Los Gatos, they were tasty!

macaron from Amour Patisseri

We attended a Bordeaux Wine Seminar and Tasting at Cin-Cin restaurant in Los Gatos to get a feel for French wine. I learned that France is the second largest wine producing country in the world, after Italy, and that the Bordeaux region ranks highest in terms of reputation. The region is vast and produces many types of wines. I liked almost everything I tried and ended up buying a few bottles. One of my favorites was the dessert wine Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey, I bought a 2005 bottle and enjoyed a glass with my Apple Galette.

History and Contributions of French Cuisine

The Roman Empire

Italian Influence (1519-1589)

François Pierre de la Varenne (1651)

Monsieur Boulanger (1765)

The French Revolution (1789)

Marie-Antoine Carême (1783-1833)

Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935)

Fernand Point (1897-1955)

This is only the tip of the iceberg for French recipes, history, and contributions. Many books have been written on the subject. Personally, I look forward to traveling back to France and doing some more eating! Bon Appétit!


Me at the bottom of the Sacré-Cœur tram in Paris.

me in Paris

Next stop, the British Isles.

All articles for the Global Bites Project can be found here.


(Ref. Jeremy MacVeigh's International Cuisine, Wikipedia, and Margaret McWilliams' Food Around the World.)