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A country of diverse land, recipes

Remi Burrowes

Remi Burrowes is a Lawrence international student from France. Here, he shares with us some insight about his home country.
France has a hexagonal shape where everything is present: seas, mountains, plains and rivers. The country has diversity in its climates, landscape, architecture and citizens.
Western France is exposed to winds from the Atlantic, while the country’s mountains have a high continental shelf and eternal snow. The Pyrenees, separating France from Spain, require a way of life adapted to the rigorous climate.
The northern region of France is an industrial agglomeration but also houses many beaches along the littoral. In this area, some swaps have been transformed into gardens.
The eastern part of France is characterized by the large plain of Champagne – a region known for its vineyards – and the Vosges with its humid part of Lorraine and sunny part of Alsace with forests and herds. The land of Loire is named the “garden of France” because of its mild climate and large amounts of water. This climate favors the growing of fruit trees. Many old castles can be found in this region as well.
Lavender, cicada and olive wood are all commonly found in France’s Mediterranean region. This area consists of many beaches in one part, while the other has wild spaces named the Garrigue, characterized by its dry vegetation.
French cooking is based on old recipes that find their origin in the brogue of each region. Because exchanges were difficult in the past, recipes included only the ingredients available in a particular area. For instance, potato pie from Limousin, a poor rural area, has an ancient recipe based on the only ingredients that were found at this time: wheat and potatoes.
Bouillabaisse, a type of fish stew, is a specialty of Marseille. Fish that are destroyed cannot be sold at a marketplace, and consequently are put into a dish that needs fresh – but not necessarily beautiful – fish.
In the southwest part of France, there are lots of duck and goose farms, making comfit duck a way of preservation. Cassoulet with beans cultivated in this region is also popular. It is an all-natural nutritious food. Interestingly enough, this region of France also has low rates of heart problems.
In France’s central massif, l’aligot, a mixture of mashed potatoes and cheese, is a typical dish for poor farmers. In Bretagne, crepes are especially popular. Crepes can be sweet for dessert or salty for a regular dish named galettes.
Gratin dauphinois, potatoes with garlic and milk or sour cream, is commonly eaten in the Alps. In Alsace, the choucroute – fermented cabbage cooked with meat – is a favorite.
In France, we cannot imagine a good meal without an appropriate wine: red for meat and white for fish. It does not end there, however; each dish needs its own wine, and each region has its own wine. Some well-known regional wines come from Bordeaux, Bourgogne and Alsace, among others.