The Origin of French Cuisine

French Food’s Evolution

UNESCO lists French cuisine to the list of cultural objects that are considered part of the world’s ‘intangible cultural heritage.’ This honor recognizes the tremendous impact French food has. But where did French cuisine begin, and how did it come to dominate the culinary world?

Talking about French cuisine as if it were a singular entity oversimplifies and distorts the story. Much of the “French food” we enjoy has its origins in diverse regions of France and even areas outside of the modern geographic borders of the country. For example, Burgundy is the home of coq au vin whereas, Chicken Basque originated in the Basque region.

The Beginning

We need to time travel all the way back to the Middle Ages to pinpoint exactly when this diverse “French fare” became differentiated from other regional cuisine. While techniques changed over the years, the inclusion of only the most fresh and finest ingredients has not. And, much like today, the presentation of food is equal to its taste.

The Italian Influence

Catherine de Medici’s arrival from Italy in 1540 changed the culinary world not just in France but also throughout the continent. Color became key, and tableware and wine glasses came into extensive use. Tomatoes from the Mediterranean and green beans from outer regions were also introduced to the menu.

Courses Fit For A King

During the reign of King Louis XIV, dishes were served one at a time, rather than all at once (or “family style”). During this period, the use of silverware became commonplace. Voila! The meal was enjoyed and savored at leisure, as was the company of guests and the table conversations.

French Dining Near Your Neighborhood!

La PanotiQ Bakery Café is a family-owned bakery cafe dedicated to providing you with finest French fare coupled with an exceptional, relaxing environment. You’ll taste a little bit of history in the fresh and French foods, bread, and French desserts we serve, and our pastries are considered among the best in the area. We invite you to dine in one of our San Francisco/Bay Area locations for breakfast or lunch, or stop in for coffee and a some of the best pastries!