French Cuisine

French cuisine is a style of cooking originating from France, having developed from centuries of social and political change. The Middle Ages brought Guillaume Tirel, better known as Taillevent. The modern age, starting in the 17th century, however, saw a move toward fewer spices and more liberal usage of herbs and refined techniques, beginning with La Varenne and further developing with the notable chef of Napoleon and other dignitaries, Marie-Antoine Carême.

French cuisine was codified in the 20th century by Georges Auguste Escoffier to become the modern version of haute cuisine. Escoffier's major work, however, left out much of the regional character to be found in the provinces of France. Gastro-tourism and the Guide Michelin helped to bring people to the countryside during the 20th century and beyond, to sample this rich bourgeois and peasant cuisine of France. Gascon cuisine has also been a great influence over the cuisine in the southwest of France.

Ingredients and dishes vary by region. There are many significant regional dishes that have become both national and regional. Many dishes that were once regional have proliferated in variations across the country. Cheese and wine are a major part of the cuisine, playing different roles regionally and nationally with many variations and appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) (regulated appellation) laws.

There are many dishes that are considered part of the nation's national cuisine today. Many come from haute cuisine in the fine-dining realm, but others are regional dishes that have become a norm across the country.

French cuisine has had an extensive evolution over centuries. Starting in the Middle Ages, a unique and creative national cuisine began forming. Various social movements, political movements, and the work of skilled chefs came together to create this movement. Through the years the styles of French cuisine have been given different names, and have been modified by various master-chefs. During their lifetimes these chefs have been held in high regard for contributions to the culture of the country. The national cuisine developed primarily in the city of Paris with the chefs to French royalty, but eventually it spread throughout the country and was even exported overseas.

(Source: Wikipedia)