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Pity the poor French. Just because they have been quality conscious, they have attained a rather unfair reputation for being ruinously expensive, too complicated and far too formal for everyday dining. In fact, matters got so bad that even the French themselves were worried and so, via the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Alain Ducasse came up with the Gout de France concept on the evening of 19th March, 2015. 1000 restaurants on five continents cooked French dinners. There was no directive about the menu or its execution, except that as a symbol, goujeres would be served as a starter. Goujeres are savoury morsels of choux pastry (the same that is used in eclairs) and are typically French. As is a Croque Monsieur – a fried or grilled ham and cheese sandwich – or a leek and cheese flan.
French food is as complex – or as simple – as you want it to be. There is haute cuisine in fancy restaurants, but there is also bistro food and country food. You can pack a baguette, a wedge of any cheese of your choice (there are over 300) and half a bottle of wine in your shopping bag, sit in a park and claim that you have eaten a French meal.
Many classic dishes have a rich history behind them. Bouillabaisse, now only served in fancy restaurants, started out life as a fishermen’s way of using up fish that no paying customer would buy. French onion soup was the only sustenance that farmers, fishmongers and butchers used to get in the now defunct Les Halles market in Paris. Potage a la Bonne Femme is a simple vegetable soup made in the style of a ‘good woman’.
You can have a meal for two in a French restaurant for more than Rs 10,000 for two just as you can for a tenth of that amount.