A French Affair

20 March 2014

Its been an adventure looking into the origins of French cuisine and those famous French dishes that David  was not only brought up on, but has created and re-created throughout his career.

As we prepare to launch a new menu , focusing back on our French heritage, we have delighted in looking back at some of the history of the cuisine and the classic dishes that have never really left menus around the world.

The famous French cookery  ‘bible’ , The Concise Larousse Gastronomique was first published 50 years ago. Those recipes have been circulated in kitchens around the world over and trawling through it today you see many dishes that are constantly brought back to life. Navarin, pot-au-feu, bourguignon, omelette, pate … they are simply restored and reinvented to bring them up to date and making them suitable for the modern palate.

However the history, basic recipe and method of these dishes remain the same.  The stories behind them can never be changed.  Take the famous Beef Bourguignon – originally a peasant dish documented by Escoffier and then refined for Haute Cuisine.   Such recipes adapt over time as technology changes, kitchen equipment is updated,  the tastes and desires of society change, economic a social changes come about and basic behaviours of people change. As Escoffier said when writing the Preface for the Larousse book … “to undertake the task of writing the history of a country’s food, to set out the changes which, through the centuries, have been made in the way in which it has been presented and served, to describe and comment upon the improvements in its cooking, is equivalent to painting a portrait evoking a country’s whole civilisation”…   The culture of daily ten course meals may have changed however dining, in whatever capacity you choose, remains and integral part of our society.

The current food trend of “paddock to plate” is of course how all cuisines of the world began. It has been the fetish for fast cooking solutions that has changed our habits over time and as we look through a lot of traditional recipes, it’s interesting that we have turned full circle.  People are realising that in moderation, the ‘whole’ ingredient is the healthier and better option and this theory is being backed by our nutritionists and doctors.

At Bitton, with our new menus about to start, we hope to have created dishes that not only evoke the traditions of French cuisine but also appeal to your palate – being fresh, healthy and full of flavour.  Come in and try our new Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner menus.  As always your feedback is welcome … bon appetite.