The French “Gourmet” Culture - The Ultimate Crash Course to Learning The Basics of the French Language In No Time - Learn French In 7 Days

Learn French In 7 Days!: The Ultimate Crash Course to Learning The Basics of the French Language In No Time (2015)

Chapter 4. The French “Gourmet” Culture

What you're about to learn:

· How to approach French cuisine

· How to enjoy a French meal

Gastronomy & fine food

France is world-renowned as the country of culinary arts. It is indeniable, French food is a must to try. You shoud once immerse yourself in this entire culture to feel how deep and far in history it goes. French cuisine is all about finding exclusive ingredients, using refined techniques and combining pride and mastery to reach the greatest level of gastronomy. French cuisine is about tasting regional products, recognizing the different flavors, in other words a full experience.

“Le fromage” (cheese)

The French consume an average of 45 pounds of cheese per year and per person!

Cheese is on a French table at each meal. There are some 400 different types of regional cheese in France so you can not miss it!

Cheese is classified according to the type of milk it is made of (cow, goat, ewe) and the techniques used (pasteurized, pressed, etc.).

“Le vin” (wine)

Almost every region in France is known for its special cheese and its special wine! To be exact 17 regions out of 22 are wine producers.

French people drink wine on a daily basis along with the meal and they claim its benefits on health! Actually, the French are known to be quite fit so wine might help, right?

France is the number one producer and exporter of wine, which says a lot on French consumption of wine. On average, a French person consumes 1.3 glass of wine per day, which totals to over 50 liters per year. French wine is considered as an art in both ways : producing it and tasting it.

“Le pain” (bread)

Wine, cheese and bread are the three allies of the French! Bread may be the most basic of all kinds of food but it is considered as an institution in France. It is that important that during the French Revolution every French man would consume three pounds of bread daily. If bread supplies ran short or with poor quality, it was a good enough reason for riot!

French bread is only made of four basic ingredients (water, flour, yeast and salt), of which French bakers (“les boulangers français”) can create wide varieties of complex breads.

“Les truffes” (truffles)

Although truffles can be found all over the world, French cuisine is known for them. The truffle is a pungent tasting fungus that grows under trees in forested areas. Truffles are expensive as they are quite rare (only to be found in the forest). Only a French Chef knows how to make a divine meal out of a fungus!

“Le foie gras” (foie gras)

Popular delicacy in French cuisine, its flavor is usually described as rich, buttery and delicate. It is made of a liver of a duck or a goose, using a special process as the duck or the goose has been fattened by force-feeding (“le gavage”) to make its liver extra big and extra fat.

“Les macarons” (French macarons)

The macarons from Ladurée in Paris are well-known around the world and you can now find a Ladurée store in Dubai, Hong-Kong, New York or Miami!

The macaron is a sweet meringue-based confection traditionally made with ground almonds, egg whites and sugar. Upon baking, it is filled with ganache, buttercream or jam.

“Les techniques de cuisine françaises”

Many cooking techniques have been elaborated by the French. You might already know some of them :

“Flambé” : to cook or finish something by pouring alcohol over it and then lighting it on fire

“Sauté” : cooking something in fat, over high heat

“Blondir” : to lightly brown food in a fat

“Chiffonade” : to cut in thin strips

“Confit” : to cook meat or poultry that is prepared and stored in its own fat

“Gratiné” : to cook in the oven usually topped with cheese

“Emulsion” : to have a lot of fat distributed evenly through a mixture (ex.: mayonnaise)

“Purée” : to obtain a smooth and creamy preparation by the use of a food processor, blender, or by pressing cooked food

All about meals

“L'art du petit-déjeuner” : Breakfast is an art!

Bread and pastry (“le pain et les viennoiseries”)

Who hasn't eaten a French baguette before? In France, most people go to the “boulangerie” (bakery) and buy their bread freshly baked everyday.

A few items to select for your own French breakfast :

“le croissant” = croissant

“le pain au chocolat” = chocolate croissant

“la brioche” = brioche

“le pain aux raisins” = raisin bread

“la baguette beurrée” = baguette with butter

“le café au lait” = coffee with milk

“le café crème” = espresso with milk

“le thé au citron” = hot lemon tea

“le chocolat chaud” = hot chocolate

“le jus d'orange” = orange juice

“le beurre” = butter

“la confiture d'abricot” = apricot jam

“la gelée de framboises” = raspberry jelly

“le miel à la lavande” = lavender-flavored honey

“Un déjeuner rapide entre deux clients” : a quick lunch between two clients

Lunch is usually a quick meal in France especially over weekdays. In most restaurants, the “menu du jour” (menu of the day) consists of an entrée, a main dish and/or a dessert and a café.

“le menu du jour” = menu of the day

“la salade au chèvre chaud” = salad with toasted goat cheese

“la salade niçoise” = niçoise salad

“la salade caesar” = caesar salad

“le taboulé” = couscous salad

“le steak-frites” = steak and fries

“l'entrecôte sauce au poivre” = rib steak with pepper sauce

“les pâtes à la carbonara” = pasta with carbonara sauce

“le gratin dauphinois” = potatoe gratin

“la truite aux légumes vapeur” = trout with steamed vegetables

“la ratatouille” = vegetable stew

“l'omelette au fromage et aux lardons” = cheese and bacon omelette

“Un repas sur le pouce” = a meal on the go

“le sandwich jambon-emmental” = ham and cheese sandwich

“le sandwich rosette-cornichons” = sandwich with dried sausage and pickles

“le sandwich au pâté” = sandwich with liver spread

“le sandwich poulet-crudités” = sandwich with chicken and veggies

“la pizza aux quatre fromages” = four cheese pizza

“la pizza végétarienne” = vegetarian pizza

“la crêpe au jambon et au fromage” = thin pancake with ham and cheese

“la crêpe au nutella” = thin pancake with nutella

“la gaufre au sucre” = waffle with sugar

“Le goûter gourmand” : yummy sweet treats

In France, there are as many sweet treats as there are types of wine and cheese! If you go to a bakery or a cake shop, you will be delighted by just looking at the window.

Here are a few samples of a long list of French cakes:

“le chou à la crème” = cream puff pastry

“le clafoutis” = cherries baked in batter

“la bûche de noël” = Christmas cream cake

“une crêpe” = thin pancake

“la crème brûlée” = custard topped with hard caramel

“le far breton” = flan with prunes from Brittany (“la Bretagne”)

“le fraisier” = strawberry cream cake

“le baba au rhum” = sponge cake with rhum

“le pain perdu” = French toast

“la galette des rois” = almond tart (epiphany cake)

“les madeleines” = shell-shaped cookies

“le mille-feuille” = puff pastry filled with vanilla cream (supposedly made of a thousand layers!)

“le fondant au chocolat” = chocolate fondant

“la mousse au chocolat” = chocolate mousse

“la tarte aux pommes” = apple pie

“Le dîner par excellence” : the ultimate dinner

In France, the dinner is actually the most important meal of the day. It is not only the most complete but it is also the longest meal. It is the time for the family to gather and talk about the day.

“les entrées” (entree)

“la salade verte” = green leaves salad

“la terrine de légumes” = vegetable terrine

“le pâté de campagne” = country-style pâté

“le pâté de foie” = liver spead

“le pâté en croûte” = meat pie

“le saumon fumé” = smoked salmon

“la soupe de légumes” = vegetable soup

“la soupe à l'oignon” = onion soup

“les viandes” (meat)

“le boeuf” = beef

“le porc” = porc

“le veau” = veal

“le poulet” = chicken

“l'agneau” = lamb

“les poissons” (fish)

“le saumon” = salmon

“la truite” = trout

“la dorade” = sea bream

“la crevette” = shrimp

“le cabillaud” = cod

“la lotte” = monkfish

“le rouget” = red mullet

“le merlan” = whiting

“le thon” = tuna

“Féculents et légumes” ( starch and veggies)

“les pâtes” = pasta

“le riz” = rice

“une frite, des frites” = fries

“une pomme de terre, une patate” = potatoe

“un haricot vert” = green bean

“une carotte” = carrot

“un chou-fleur” = cauliflower

“un petit pois” = green pea

“un champignon” = mushroom

“une tomate” = tomatoe

“un oignon” = onion

“l'ail” = garlic

“les fruits” (fruits)

“l'orange” = orange

“le kiwi” = kiwi

“le pamplemousse” = grapefruit

“la fraise” = strawberry

“la mûre” = blackberry

“la pomme” = apple

“la mandarine” = tangerine

“la poire” = pear

“la pêche” = peach

“la cerise” = cherry

“le melon” = melon

“la groseille” = gooseberry

“la prune” = plum

“les condiments” (condiments)

“le sel” = salt

“le poivre” = pepper

“le sucre” = sugar

“les herbes aromatiques” = aromatic herbs

“la moutarde” = mustard

“l'huile” = oil

“le vinaigre” = vinegar

“la vinaigrette” = salad dressing (made of oil and vinegar)

“la farine” = flour

In order to help you set the table, below are the terms used in the kitchen (“la cuisine”) and dining room (“la salle à manger”).

“mettre le couvert” = to set the table

“la table” = table

“une chaise” = chair

“une assiette” = plate

“un verre” = glass

“une fourchette” = fork

“un couteau” = knife

“une cuillère” = spoon

“une serviette de table” = napkin

“une nappe” = table cloth

“une carafe d'eau” = water pitcher

Dining out

How to make a reservation?

“réserver une table” = to reserve a table

“je voudrais” = I would like

Below are sample sentences aiming at reserving a table in a restaurant.

“Bonjour, je voudrais réserver une table pour samedi soir.”

Hello, I'd like to reserve a table for Saturday night.

“Pour combien de personnes?”

For how many?

“Pour quatre personnes.”

For 4 people.

“Pour quelle heure?”

At what time?

“A vingt heures.”

At 8pm.

“C'est à quel nom?”

What is the name for the reservation?

“Vous préférez à l'intérieur ou à l'extérieur?”

Would you like to seat inside or outside?

“Désolé, le restaurant est fermé/complet ce soir.”

Sorry, the restaurant is closed/full tonight.

How to order food and drinks?

At a French restaurant, you can usually chose either the set menu (“le menu”) or any other item in the menu (“à la carte”).

“l'apéritif” = when you usually get the menu, the waiter/waitress will ask you if you want to start with a drink.

“la carte des vins” = if you want to drink wine, the waiter/waitress will bring the wine list.

“l'entrée” = the “entrée” is the first course refered to as the starter in English.

“le plat principal” = this is the main course, usually meat or fish.

“choisir la cuisson de la viande” = how to select your cooking preferences for meat

“bleu” = blue

“saignant” = rare

“à point” = medium

“bien cuit” = well done

“le fromage” = you have the choice between a selection of dried cheese (“fromage sec”) or fresh cheese (“fromage blanc”) which usually comes with sugar (“sucre”), sour cream (“crème”) or fruit purée (“coulis de fruit”). Some people also chose to eat it with salt and pepper (“sel et poivre”).

“la carte des desserts” = dessert menu

“régler l'addition” = to pay the bill

“laisser un pourboire” = to leave a tip

Let's practice!

“Voulez-vous un apéritif?”

What would you like to drink?

“Quel plat recommandez-vous?”

What is your recommendation?

“Je voudrais commander une entrée.”

I would like to order a starter.

“En plat principal, vous voulez de la viande ou du poisson?”

Would you like meat or fish for main course?

“Quel accompagnement souhaitez-vous?”

What side dish would you like?

“Quelle sauce voulez-vous avec votre steak?”

What sauce would you like with your steak?

“Vous avez le choix entre la sauce au poivre et la sauce au vin.”

You can chose between pepper sauce and wine sauce.

“Souhaitez-vous du fromage sec ou du fromage blanc?”

Would you like dried or fresh cheese?

“Je préfère du fromage blanc.”

I prefer fresh cheese.

“Voici la carte des desserts.”

Here is the dessert menu.

“Je voudrais l'addition, s'il vous plaît.”

I would like the bill, please.

“Est-ce que tout s'est bien passé?”

Was everything alright?

“C'était délicieux! Mes compliments au chef!”

It was delicious! Compliments to the chef!

A drink at the bar

In order to have a drink at the bar, you need to be able to order it, right? Here are a few words and expressions to quench your thirst!

“commander un verre” = to order a drink

“boire un verre” = to have a drink

“commander au bar” = to order at the bar

“laisser un pourboire” = to leave a tip

“la boisson” = the drink

The verb “boire” is irregular so it is important for you to learn its conjugation (present tense):

“je bois” = I drink

“tu bois” = you drink

“il/elle/on boit” = he/she drinks

“nous buvons” = we drink

“vous buvez” = you drink

“ils/elles boivent” = they drink

Below are a few drinks that customers usually order at the bar:

“un verre de vin” = a glass of wine

“un verre de rouge/blanc/rosé” = a glass of red/white/rosé wine

“une bière pression” = draught beer

“une coupe de champagne” = a glass of champagne

“un whisky coca” = whisky coke

“une vodka pomme” = vodka and apple juice

“un demi pêche” = a beer mixed with peach squash

“un panaché” = a beer mixed with limonade

“un pastis” = anise spirit

“Tu bois quoi?” or “Vous buvez quoi?” (familier)

What you drink? (informal)

“ Je voudrais un verre de blanc, s'il vous plaît.”

I would like a glass of white wine, please.”

“On peut commander les boissons?”

Can we order the drinks?”

“On va prendre trois bières pression, merci!”

We will have 3 draught beers, thanks!

“Ca fait 15 euros, s'il vous plaît.”

It costs €15, please.

“Test your French!”

Let's review what you've learnt in that chapter with a few exercises.

Mark the correct answers:

“Tu aimes manger quoi au petit-déjeuner?”

□ Une truite aux légumes

□ Du pain avec du beurre et de la confiture

□ Un verre de vin rouge

“Vous avez une table libre pour deux ce soir?”

□ Je suis désolé, le restaurant est fermé ce soir.

□ Le menu du jour coûte quinze euros.

□ Je mange avec mes parents à la maison.

“Vous préférez du fromage blanc ou du fromage sec?”

□ Je bois une bière pression.

□ Nous aimons le fromage.

□ Je préfère du fromage sec.

Fill the gaps:

Voici la ... des desserts.

Je mange un pain … chocolat tous les matins.

Vous préférez à l'... ou à l'extérieur?

Elle aime la ... au poivre et la ... au vin.

Je ... une coupe de champagne, s'il vous plaît.

Translate the sentence:

Au déjeuner, j'ai mangé des pâtes à la carbonara. = ...

I would like to reserve a table for 4 people. = …

Vous voulez commander les boissons? = …

Il aime manger du fromage et boire du vin. = …

Do you prefer a brioche or a croissant? = …

Le restaurant est complet demain soir? = …


□ Du pain avec du beurre et de la confiture

□ Je suis désolé, le restaurant est fermé ce soir.

□ Je préfère du fromage sec.

Voici la carte des desserts.

Je mange un pain au chocolat tous les matins.

Vous préférez à l'extérieur ou à l'extérieur?

Elle aime la sauce au poivre et la sauce au vin.

Je voudrais une coupe de champagne, s'il vous plaît.

I had pasta with carbonara sauce for lunch.

Je voudrais réserver une table pour quatre personnes.

Do you want to order the drinks?

He likes eating cheese and drinking wine.

Tu préfères une brioche ou un croissant?

Is the restaurant full tomorrow night?