France is a huge country with 22 mainland regions, therefore the diversity in it’s regional cuisine is also huge.In France fresh produce is very important and therefore the climate will often dictate what will be included in the regional dishes. Some foods will remain the same throughout France while others will differ considerably. The traditional recipes which have been handed down through generations also grace the tables of some of the best hotels in France along with the Haute Cuisine dishes taught in the best cooking schools in the world.
A Bouquet Garni is often used in French recipes, especially in Provençale dishes. Making the right bouquet garni for your dish is important and should include at least three herbs or vegetables but can use as many as you like. Added to roasts, stews and casseroles it brings the flavour of your dish to another level.
Begin with a strong piece of herb or vegetable which will act as the support for the bouquet garni such as a piece or celery or fennel, around 5 -7 cm long, next add herbs such as parsley, bay leaf, thyme, fennel fronds and for stronger meats rosemary or dill for fish dishes. Taking a piece of kitchen string tie these ingredients together securely and your bouquet garni is ready to use.
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Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat (typically pork sausages, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin and white beans. The dish is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides.
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