Gabriel Gaté - A Cook’s Tour of France

Published on July 23, 2015
  • Bêtise de Cambrai

    Bêtise de Cambrai

    © Gabriel Gaté

  • Gabriel Gaté and Laurent Le Daniel

    Gabriel Gaté and Laurent Le Daniel

    © Gabriel Gaté

Gabriel Gaté - A Cook’s Tour of France Paris fr

"Every year for two months in spring I visit the French regions crossed by the Tour de France bicycle race to discover their most delicious gastronomic specialities.

Taste le Tour with Gabriel Gaté shown on SBS TV during the Tour is the result of my gourmet journey.

 

Bonjour!  Camembert, champagne, paté, chardonnay, macaron, Cointreau, millefeuille, Cognac, Sauternes, terrine, pinot noir, tapenade, rosé, salade niçoise,  Armagnac, croissant, Dom Pérignon, Roquefort, Cassoulet… I imagine you have understood my French so far.

I speak English with a pronounced French accent but my French accent is even stronger in my cooking.  I am often asked what make French gastronomy so special.

 

French people discuss food and cooking incessantly and there is a savoir faire that passes from one generation to another. Food artisans like butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers are very dedicated and forever sharing cookery hints with their clients Every town and most villages have a weekly fresh food market - in Paris alone, there are 60 markets.

More importantly, France is geographically blessed.  With its mostly temperate climate in the north and warm Mediterranean climate in the south, there are four distinctive seasons, allowing a wide variety of seasonal foods.

 

France benefits from its extensive coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the North Atlantic sea. The fresh seafood of the cold waters of Brittany and Normandy is of the highest quality, while the Mediterranean coast provides different types of fish and seafood.

The valleys of the great French rivers provide outstanding conditions for growing vegetables, herbs and fruits, including excellent olives for fine olive oil.
The slopes of the valleys with their varied terroirs are the home of some of the greatest vineyards in the world.  Champagne and Burgundy produce amazing chardonnay and pinot noir, Alsace is known for its grand cru riesling, Bordeaux for  fine cabernet and merlot, the Rhône Valley for its superb shiraz and viognier, the Loire for its popular sauvignon blanc wines and… of course, we can’t forget Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Grand Marnier, Cointreau etc.

The rich green pastures of the Alps, the Jura and the Pyrenees contribute to the  production of flavoursome milk that is transformed into exceptional cheeses, such as Compté, Beaufort and many others - camembert, brie and Roquefort, chèvre (goat‘s cheese), and they are all so delicious with French bread.

 

France is a heaven for gâteaux and pâtisseries which are becoming lighter and less sweet. The great Paris Brest, the millefeuille, the appetizing fruit tarts, and those amazing buttery croissants, pains au chocolate and brioches.

The art of cooking in France has been evolving for hundreds of years from hearty regional cuisines, very different from one part of France to another, into a refined, elegant modern cuisine.

 

My latest book, ‘A Cook’s Tour of France’, is a collection of recipes that I have cooked on ‘Taste Le Tour with Gabriel Gaté’ and features splendid images of most of the French regions. Some of the recipes in the book are classics and have been cooked in family kitchens for centuries. I have also created more contemporary recipes that feature regional ingredients, like chicken, wine, herbs, and fruits, and the majority of the dishes are simple to prepare.

Vive Le Tour and bon appétit! "

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