France’s gastronomic tradition is not only extensive, but also remarkably varied. Southern France is highly influenced by the Mediterranean Sea which gently laps its coasts; sun and sea are ever present in its most traditional dishes. In central France, lakes and mountains inspire rich, comforting dishes where cream and butter are classically star ingredients.
In Provence, markets offer an impressive array of produce. Sweet olive oils, crisp breads, sun-kissed figs, fragrant herbs and the freshest fish can all be found as you leisurely peruse the colourful stalls. The most celebrated culinary achievement of the region is the Bouillabaisse, a hearty soup or stew that exquisitely marries the rich flavours of a variety fish and shell fish, olive oil, tomatoes, saffron and other delectable ingredients.
In the Rhone-Alpes region of central France, Lyon is regarded by many as the French capital of gastronomy. World-famous sausages, such as the rosette de Lyon, a very popular dry-cured pork sausage, are always on offer. Amazingly rich and flavoursome cheeses are also a mainstay of the regional cuisine. A popular appetiser that highlights the deftness of its fromageries is the "cervelle de canut". Named for the Lyon's silk workers of the 1800’s, it is a mouth-wateringly pungent blend of fromage blanc, vinegar and herbs served over slices of toasted baguette.
All in all, it is the unsurpassed quality of the local produce, coupled by the unrivalled virtuosity of its chefs, which has afforded France the greatest praise in international gastronomy. Rich sauces, aromatic herbs and artisanal cheeses are all testament to the artistry of France’s culinary masters.