Were the French ever the best?

Were the French ever the best?

Some food snobs will never admit that French gastronomic culture can be overshadowed by any other

Andrew J. Linn

Friday, 29 September 2023, 13:22

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The days have long gone when we considered French cuisine to be the world's best, and perhaps the top award must now go to Spain. Nevertheless, some food snobs will never admit that French gastronomic culture can be overshadowed by any other. Surely, a philosophy which featured Escoffier, the Michelin Guide and a series of iconic products can never be relegated to second place?

French croissants. SUR

The French have given us the baguette, the croissant, and an endless array of cheeses. France is also one of the world's leading wine producers, famous for its Bordeaux, Burgundies, Champagnes, and Loire Valley assortments, among hundreds of others.

The French have done a fabulous job over the years convincing everyone that they do it best. Just think of escargots, coq au vin, bouillabaisse, ratatouille. quiche, foie gras, béarnaise and hollandaise sauces. They even managed to export their cuisine to North America, the Caribbean, the East Indies, and parts of Asia.

The British were the world's biggest occupier of other nations for centuries, but made no gastronomic contributions, being keener on taking rather than giving. Indeed, it was not until France's great chefs fled to England during the French Revolution that things started looking up that side of the Channel.

Restaurants emerged out of late 18th century Paris, inspired by English taverns. Inspiration can work both ways: eating houses had existed for centuries, but designed only to provide sustenance and these were different. It was not until eating became a social pleasure that people began leaving their homes to start frequenting restaurants.

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