top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

Is French cuisine really the best in the world?

A Connexion reader challenges the country’s gastronomic credentials

French cuisine at its finest; ratatouille made of zucchini, aubergine, peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes Pic: margouillat photo / Shutterstock

Nick Inman made a good point about Gallic assumptions of gastronomic excellence in the July issue. French food, either from a supermarket or restaurant, is subject to the same huge latitude of quality in both its ingredients and preparation as anywhere else. 

Fruits and vegetables

Fruit and vegetable selections are generally limited and highly seasonal, although this is an instance of the French way of 'treading lightly' on our ravaged planet, and not demanding that exotica be flown halfway around the globe.

Regarding French cheeses, although there are some class acts, I have rarely seen a decent bit of Stilton for sale. Only an utter philistine would claim Roquefort is even in the same league.

Read more: Camembert, Roquefort, Brie: Can I bring French cheeses into the US?

Different meat options

However, my personal bête noire is French meat. Not only the quality but the preparation. Yes, I buy most of my meat in supermarkets, but I am frequently annoyed by the standards of basic preparation. 

Lamb, for example, has to be minutely inspected before cooking to remove shards of bone. As for beef, in many otherwise good restaurants, steaks are routinely tough and not enjoyable. It seems that before any bird or animal can be offered for human consumption, it has to have reached the absolute end of its productive life, no matter how old.

However, we should continue to celebrate the uniqueness of each country's cuisine and applaud those many dedicated producers and chefs who excel in their vocations (though they may shed a tear at never being able to compete with Nick's mum).

Paul Dinsdale

Related articles

French tomatoes become latest food to receive top quality label

Rosé wine guide - a tour through France’s pink wine producing regions

Cheap and cheerful French restaurants are back in fashion

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France