5 THINGS YOU’LL FIND IN EVERY FRENCH KITCHEN
Aside from a healthy dose of wry humour and great wine (life’s too short to drink bad wine they say), here’s a round-up of our favourite items that every French kitchen has in common.
1. The Chasseur Casserole
Compared to the history of foundry which dates back to prehistoric times, French brand Chasseur is just a baby at a little over 90 years old. But that’s still close to a century of providing French homes – and indeed those around the globe – with the perfect cassoulet, coq au vin and bœuf bourguignon.
There’s no mistaking a Classique Chasseur cast iron oven. They’re cast by hand in the Champagne Ardennes region of France where food and wine is arguably celebrated the hardest, and manually enamelled in signature colours such as Federation Red, French Blue and the more recent addition of Duck Egg Blue.
Use yours to finesse your French cooking skills, or to simply reduce washing up – they go from stove, to oven to table after all! Read more about the benefits of cast iron here.
2. The Laguiole Knife
Laguiole is the name given to France’s most recognisable style of steak knife, and it’s also the name of the region in which they’re made. Think of them as the champagne of the cutlery world. The ornate blades which are stamped with the signature bee motif appease the French appetite for style and practicality, and you’ll be challenged to find a home without a set or three.
Complete Laguiole-style cutlery sets are also readily available, but the French kitchen cares not for matching flatware, so don’t hesitate to pair your current cutlery with a single set of Laguiole knives.
4. The Spice Mill
Seasoning is a serious matter in the French kitchen, and no supermarket table salt or pre-ground pepper will do. The passion and precision that pours into the balancing of French flavours might be why the country is home to some of the best quality and most iconic mill manufacturers in the world. Demand and supply, right?
Like their cutlers and foundries, French mill-makers are often region-specific and have honed their craft over decades, if not centuries, so it’s hardly surprising that the French don’t turn elsewhere for this hard-working tool.
3. The Linen Tablecloth
They lay the dinner table with old linen sheets, dry dishes with linen tea towels and dab their mouths with antique linen napkins. Linen is the material of choice when it comes to the French kitchen (and the French bedroom, the French wardrobe, you get the idea.)
The best linen money can buy is grown in France. Produced in relatively small quantities, it not only lasts forever, but gets even better with age. Because of this, linen is considered a luxury item in other parts of the world, but in France, it’s part of daily life.
5. The Market Bag
Market days, which are held at least once a week and as frequently as every day in larger cities, are at the heart of the French affinity for food. A long standing and little changed tradition, locals flock to get their fill of the freshest fruits, vegetables and small goods their region has to offer.
But you won’t see them lugging fistfuls of plastic bags. The French prefer to carry their haul in string bags or a large basket also referred to as a panier. Don’t be surprised if you also see people pulling wheeled shopping caddies behind them – the type your grandma loves – it’s just good sense!
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