One of my favourite areas of the world I like to cook recipes and dishes from is France. French cuisine is typically flavoursome and very rich, but the interesting thing about most French dishes is that they are relatively simple. So simple though that it can be tricky to get prepare and cook them perfectly. One of the things that sets French cuisine apart from other cuisines in the world is the emphasis on using the highest quality of ingredients you can get your hands on. Below are 5 ingredients that are essential to have stocked in your kitchen when you are considering cooking classic French dishes.
European Style Butter
It should be pointed out that butter in Europe is different anywhere else; it makes a big difference when you are cooking and baking. It has a much higher fat content than butters produced in other parts of the world. This brings a more in-depth and rich flavour to most French dishes and recipes.
Fresh Herbs, Garlic, Shallots And Parsley
It is important that when you are using ingredients such as parsley, shallots, garlic and herbs that you use the freshest that you can find. Garlic adds that overall flavour and pungency to dishes while shallots add a more mellow oniony taste, while the parsley and other fresh herbs add mild flavours and that vibrant green colour to dishes.
Provence Herbs Also Known As Herbes De Provence
This is a special blend of herbs that are essential when you are looking to add a very French flavour to fish and cooked meats. It is a beautiful mix of the herbs savoury, marjoram, thyme, rosemary and basil and will instantly add the taste of France to any of your meals.
Chestnut Spread – Clement Faugier
Although chestnuts are normally more popular during Christmas and winter in other parts of the world, chestnut spread is a treat used and consumed throughout the year in France. It is a sweetened puree of sugar and chestnuts that can be used in a number of ways, whether it is as a simple spread on your toast or bread or as a cooking ingredient.
Wine (For cooking not drinking)
Wine is a great way to add extra depth of flavour and character to dishes in French cuisine and is actually a core ingredient to some of the most popular and well-known classic French recipes. All chefs agree that whatever wine you use in cooking, it should be one that you would be prepared to drink. There is no point in using the leftover wine that you didn’t enjoy hoping that it will improve the flavour of that soup or stew, because if you didn’t enjoy drinking it – it will likely ruin the flavour of your meal. A good tip is to look for a cost effective wine that is nice to drink.