French cuisine has developed over centuries to become known as the most refined style of cooking in the world. However, it wasn’t until sometime after World War I that French cuisine became what it is known as today. Known as “haute cuisine”, it has become an art form, and great care is taken in the preparation and presentation of French dishes.
The French are well known for their distinguished palates. I had a chuckle when I was reviewing some military rations awhile back. The US rations I looked at consisted of meals such as chicken enchiladas and beef jerky. The French rations were a little more refined, with rabbit pate and salmon a more common choice.
One of my favorite things about French cuisine is the experience of the meal. The meal is created as something to savor and enjoy, and not simply to satisfy a hunger. A good chef will go to great lengths to make sure a dish is prepared just right, and won’t rest until it is.
Fortunately, this great art form is no longer strictly the province of the elite. There are many recipes, books and classes out there to help the “culinarily challenged” among us to enjoy the finer points of haute cuisine without the high price tag. While it may be difficult for the average home cook to capture the full essence of French cooking, there are many recipes that are simple to make that can be recreated by anyone with a little skill.
From simple breads to French Onion Soup to Duck a L’Orange and Crème Brulee, there is a French cuisine recipe for everyone. I’d like to share a simple recipe that anyone can enjoy for “Chocolat Chaud” (hot chocolate).
– 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (use a premium chocolate for a fuller, richer flavor)
– ¼ cup of hot water
– 3 cups of hot milk
– Small amount of sugar to taste
– Whipped Cream (use real cream)
1. Melt the chocolate in a pot with the ¼ cup of hot water
2. Stir in the milk until the mixture is smooth.
3. Pour the hot chocolate into cups and add sugar to taste.
4. Add a spoonful of whipped cream to each cup
Say what you will about the French, there is always one thing you can never dispute: they are masters of the culinary arts.