Fabulous French Foods and Their Foundations

We are pleased to announce that our Taste of Provence is still on for Tuesday January 10th, despite the horrible weather we’ve been having. The high winds and rain did some minor damage to the front area of our bistro. But we were able get everything cleaned up in a short amount of time. We would like thank the contractors who came out on short notice, specifically Dan Lombardo at www.windowcleaningconejovalley.com¬†for getting our storefront windows cleaned up on such short notice.

The tasting will take place on our patio (weather permitting) as well as inside the bistro from 6 PM – 10 PM on Tuesday 1/10. The cost is $20 per person. Below are descriptions of just some of the delicious foods we will have available for sampling.

When you are learning about food, it is essential to learn about what they are made of. It is also important to obtain knowledge of their origins. The origin of a food not only tells where it comes from but also what is special about the food item. It tells what stands out about the food products as well. French food has a long-standing role in history and some of their food items play a big part in the history of the world and are wonderful dishes as well. Aioli is one of these fabulous french food products.

Aioli dates back to the nineteenth century and is a classic Provencal tradition. With a creamy texture and universal flavors, it is a likely addition to any meal. It can be a great addition to seafood, meat, and vegetables. When it is translated into English, it means “garlic oil.” With only egg, garlic, Dijon, lemon juice, and oil as it is ingredients, it is very easy to make and when olive oil is added to it, the result is a richer and more defined flavor. While we won’t give our exact recipe away, below is a video to a very good similar one:

Ratatouille is another remarkable French dish with a delightful history. The word “Ratatouille” comes from the Occitan ratatolha. Every language uses the word even the South of France where it is called Valentine and Basque Country where it is called Piperade. When it is made with garlic, onions, and olives, it is the “”Bohemienne du Languedoc.” It originated in Nice and Provence. Its original definition came from 1778 and it meant a motley stew.

The word rata also has a military meaning. In military slang, it means a combination of beans, potatoes, mixed vegetables, and fatty meat. Since it is easy to make, it is a regular in military chow lines. The dish consists of cooked vegetables, mainly eggplant, onions, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. There is no set way to make this dish just guiding principles for people to go by. Bouillabaisse is one of the best French foods.

Bouillabaisse is a well-known fish stew of the Mediterranean and it got its origin in Marseilles. It is made in every port in all throughout the coastal regions of Provence though. A legend about this stew is that Venus fed it to her husband Vulcan so he would go to sleep so she could have relations with Mars. Greek cooks said they brought Bouillabaisse into existence.

Greek cooks say they were the first ones to make Bouillabaisse. They say when the Phocaeans (the Greeks from Asia Minor) founded Marseilles around 600 B.C. they brought with them a fish soup called Kakavia that was going to be the future base of Bouillabaisse. It is not for sure whether this actually happened or not. In the culinary writings of the ancient Greeks, especially as represented by Athenaeus (A.D. 170-230), boiled fish was cooked in a lot of unspecified ways, as well as one fish stew made with grayfish, herbs, oil, caraway seeds, and salt. What makes this fish stew stand out from other fish stews is saffron, fennel seeds, and orange zest. Another terrific French food is Tapenade.

Tapenade is an intensely flavored puree’ of olives, olive oil, and a variety of seasonings that resembles relish. It is typically served as a spread on bread and it originated in Provence, the beautiful and delicate region of Southern France.This area abuts the Mediterranean Sea and it stretches west from Nice to Arles, where some of the world’s most flavorful olives are grown. The name of this food came from the Provencal word for capers, tapenas, a common ingredient in tapenade. Tapenade only consists of a few ingredients: oil-cured black olives, capers, anchovies, and olive oil. Soupe au Pistou is a popular and super French food.

Soupe au Pistou is very popular in Southern France and it originated in Genoa. It is typically made of a soup with green (usually summer) vegetables and a hearty amount of Pistou (basil paste or chopped basil) which is added to the dish when it is almost done. There is no wrong way to make this soup and people can spice it up anyway that they want and utilize whatever vegetables they have in their fridge.

I hope learning about these fabulous French foods and how they have found their way onto many plates across the globe has been a good experience for you. I also hope you enjoyed this cultural cuisine experience. Bon Appetit!

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