French cuisine has influenced the eating habits of people around the world, especially those who enjoy "haute cuisine" in restaurants. But there are also many regional (or "provincial") styles of cooking that remain unique to France.
France is internationally recognized for its exceptional cuisine and famous chefs. But France did not earn this recognition overnight.
Food historians credit the ancient Romans for initially bringing cooking to the level of an art form. But the pre-Renaissance food of France was heavy and highly spiced. Ironically, it was Italian-born Catherine de Medici, whose arrival in France in 1533 was pivotal in the development of France's culinary arts. De Medici and her cooking staff introduced delicacies previously unknown to the French, as well as strict etiquette policies. Her presence in France not only elevated the civilized dining experience, but also influenced the future of French cuisine.
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This page modified January 2007
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