France is one of the top destinations for a unique culinary experience.
Being the French chef at Pastreez, an online macaron store in the US, I can relate! When I shared my authentic French macaron recipe , I realized I got lots of questions about the tools I used.
1 – The french whip
Now this is the one I use the most to bake. The french whip or “fouet”’ in French, is a longer and thinner type of whisk.
Have you ever asked yourself, really, what is a macaron? If you haven’t been to France yet, you must know that we LOVE desserts.
There are so many types of French pastries, breads, from region to region, that you could probably make one every day for a full year.
The french whip is a must to bake typical French desserts, such as macarons, crêpes, or even a cake.
In the macaron recipe, we use it for the French meringue. With its lightweight, it’s easier to move it rapidly in your bowl, and create that cloudy and airy texture.
2 – Bouillon cube (Knorr and Maggi)
The “bouillon cube” means cube of “cube of broth”. But I believe you can still say “bouillon cube” in english as well, since it’s a very particular item.
A bouillon cube is a 1-inch cube packed with seasonings like curry or thym, that helps to flavor your dishes.
It is a very smart way to cook! These cubes are ready to use to flavor soups or sauces. It is very useful when you don’t have the time to proper season your meat or chicken.
Instead of preparing your own seasonings, drop a little bouillon cube in your pan, and voilà!
The first bouillon cube was actually invented in 1908 by Julius Maggi, founder of the famous Maggi brand. Right after in 1912, Carl Knorr, German founder of the brand Knorr, created his own version of the bouillon cube.
As you can see, even if the term “bouillon” is French, the bouillon cube is not actually French.
100 years later, it’s fun to see that these two brands are still the two main competitors for the bouillon cube worldwide!
3 – A french baguette
That’s a bit cliché. But it is so true! Even myself, after 5 years in California, still trying to find a quality French baguette.
But how do we use baguettes in French? And why is it so ingrained in French culture?
Now that I’m in the US, I can see that Americans prefer soft bread. It’s quite hard to find fresh French baguettes.
But in France, we use baguettes for almost everything. From breakfast (with jam, honey or nutella), to lunch (often in sandwiches or to accompany the meal), for after school snack with jam again or chocolate, to dinner time, especially when we serve French cheese… I mean, we really use baguette for everything!
Back in the days of Napoléon (1800s), bread was still a round country bread, called “une miche” in French.
But Napoléon wanted something easier to eat for soldiers. Something you could eat fast, that would be long and easy to cut off without a knife. The baguette was born!
4 – Olive oil
When you think of French cooking, you often think of butter. Yet, did you know French people often cook with Olive oil?
Olive oil is often used in salad. In France, we love a mixed green salad after the main course, before the cheese is served. What we call “vinaigrette” is the seasoning that we put in this mixed green salad. It is made with mustard, salt, vinegar and olive oil, sometimes shallots or a touch of lemon.
We also use olive oil with grilled fish. Once the fish is ready, simply add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a generous drizzle of olive oil, season it to your liking… Delicious!
Olive oil is mostly used in Mediterranean culture. Southern France is more likely to use it in every dish.
5 – Nutella. Yes!
Last but not least, in France we have the greatest spread ever: Nutella!
To tell you how popular it is in France, Nutella is the equivalent of your peanut butter in the US. So yes, it is a very big deal!
Nutella is a hazelnut chocolate spread. Usually French people – especially French kids – spread it out on a fresh baguette (again!), and dip it in milk.
The story behind it is quite unusual. First of all, the maker of Nutella, Ferrero, is Italian.
In 1946 after world war II, cocoa was very hard to find. A small pastry shop in Piedmont, Italy, seized the opportunity.
They created a sweet spread made with just a bit of cocoa, sugar and hazelnut. At the time it was called the “Giandujot”. But at the time, it was a hard chocolate bar. It was not easy to spread!
5 years later, Ferrero came up with the “supercrema”. We can call it the predecessor of Nutella! Easier to spread, the supercrema was very popular, especially among kids.
It’s only in 1966 that the real Nutella was born. Its iconic glass jar was first introduced in France, because it was Ferrero’s main market.
In 2021, Ferrero group had a turnover of 12.7 billion euros. Each year they are increasing their market share.
Do you guys prefer Nutella or peanut butter? Let us know in the comment section!