Thursday, February 26, 2009

25 Things About Food in France

This is a spin off on the Facebook notes people have been writing lately. Hopefully you will enjoy this and learn something new.

1. Traditional French culture places a high priority on the enjoyment of food. The French view eating as not just a neutral act, but as a culture.

2. France has a different cheese for almost everyday of the year.

3. In France, people eat approximately 500,000,000 snails per year.

4. Ten billion baguettes are produced each year in France. By law, a traditional baguette can only have three ingredients: flour, yeast and salt, and must weigh 250 grams, just short of 9 ounces.

5. To help with the rising obesity in France, Starbucks has opened 46 stores in Paris and Lyon.

6. Many people in France drink their hot beverages from bowls and dip bread in it.

7. The legal drinking age is officially 18 for strong liquors (21% vol. alcohol), and 16 for most alcohol drinks, like beer and wine.

8. While French cuisine is often associated with rich desserts, in most homes dessert consists of only a fruit or yogurt.

9. France is the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products — and Europe’s largest.

10. France, is the world's second-largest consumer of pesticides after the US — and the world's first-largest consumer of fungicides. The widespread use of chemicals is one reason people in France are turning to 'bio', or organic, products. In fact, almost 30 percent of French are now 'bio' buyers.

11. Even though one in five French say they have stopped eating beef, most of them do not like tofu. They have obviously never tried the tofu dishes at The Bamboo House in Tallahassee!

12. The French enjoy eating horse and rabbit. It is normal to see these items on a restaurant menu.

13. Almost all grocery stores close at 8pm and are closed on Sundays. There are exceptions in big cities.

14. Wine is considered an important part of the French meal. "Wine ...the intellectual part of the meal." - Alexandre Dumas, 1873, a famous French writer

15. It is almost impossible to find true Mexican food in France. I say "almost" because I am hoping someone can prove me wrong.

16. In times of celebration, the French always drink Champagne. The first written reference to Champagne was English, not French! In 1676, Etherege wrote in praise of "sparkling Champagne" which "Quickly recovers, Poor laughing lovers, Makes us frolic and gay, and drowns all our sorrows."

17. At a French McDonalds, you can order a beer and a Croque McDo. Prices on most items are twice as expensive as the USA, most likely because 90% of all agricultural products used at French McDonalds are produced by local farmers.

18. Cuisine TV, which is the French Food Network, is way boring. The recipes are interesting, but if you are not passionate about cooking, you won't want to watch.

19. A traditional French Christmas menu consists of: raw oysters, escargots, fois gras, smoked salmon, scallops and Champagne.

20. "Goûter" or "quatre-heure"- afternoon snack mostly for French children; ex. crepes, croissants, brioche, cookies, hot chocolate

21.It is common in much of France to take a two hour lunch break. Therefore, most shops close at 12pm and reopen at 2pm or sometimes even 3pm.

22. The cuisine from each different region in France differs greatly. The Provence region uses olive oils, tomatoes and herbs in many dishes. In Normandy, the food is influenced by butter, crème fraiche and apples. The Alps region is known for its cheese dishes, including fondue and raclette, while the Alsace region has a strong German influence which includes beer and sauerkraut.

23."Grand Cru" is French for "great growth" and designates the best. In Burgundy it refers to the best vineyards which usually have multiple owners. In Bordeaux its meaning varies by the specific region, but it always refers to properties with a single owner.

24. AOC, Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, is a system of labelling products- wine, cheese, chickens, olive oils, potatoes and even lentils- serves as a guarantee of the origin of a product and its quality.

Côte-Rôtie is a French wine AOC (see above) in the northern Rhône region of France. The earliest record of wine making in the region dates to the 2nd century BC when the Romans settled in the regions around Vienne. The vineyards surround the tiny villages of Ampuis and Chavanay. The vineyards are unique because of their vertical slopes and stone walls. Côte-Rôtie meaning "the roasted side", refers to the long hours of sunlight that these steep slopes receive. The wines are red, made with Syrah grapes and up to 20% Viognier.


  1. I think I can prove you wrong about Mexican food in France. I was an expat in Paris for 5 years and loved the genuine Mexican restaurant, Anahuacalli in the 5th arr. I actually live in Phoenix, AZ now and have not found better than that restaurant. Next time you get up to Paris, you need to check it out and comment on you blog about it.
    Anahuacalli- 30, rue des Bernardins, 5e

  2. Wow, first of all: This is an amazing blog and what an interesting post!
    Second of all: I really envy your way of living. You seem to be a really nice couple:)

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