France…the word alone conjures culinary fantasies. The source and inspiration for so much of food culture, France has been a magnet and training ground for countless American food writers and cooks, including M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Alice Waters, David Lebovitz, our own food editor and La Varenne alum Kemp Minifie, and many others. So we're observing Bastille Day with a celebration of the country that gave us the very word cuisinenot to mention an appreciation of the perfect crusty baguette slathered with butter, small-batch raw milk cheeses, garlic-buttery snails, coq au vin, chocolate mousse, macarons, pains au chocolat, and all the mother sauces on which haute cuisine is built.
Travel writer Raphael Kadushin sets the scene and whets our appetites with A Weekend in Provence, exploring the Aix that captivated luminaries like Fisher and hitting the region's food hot spots, plus off-the-beaten-path destinations for kitchenware shopping, spa treatments, and plenty of fantastic food, including several sumptuous variations on duck, goat cheese, pastries, and everything olive-y.
For proof that there's plenty of delectable bouillabaisse, crêpes, steak au poivre, and crème caramel to be had here in the United States, consult our latest collaboration with BlogHer, featuring 10 recommendations for French restaurants coast to coast.
Or tackle the French culinary arts in your own kitchen with a primer on making puff pastry from scratch, courtesy of pastry pro Michelle Tampakis of New York's Institute of Culinary Education. Put that pastry to good use in our recipe for a savory Roasted-Tomato Tart (although if you substitute frozen, we won't tell).
And don't miss our latest special magazine edition, Gourmet Easy Dinners, a hand-picked selection of 109 simple standouts of home cooking, including wild salmon with roasted tomatoes and an irresistibly colorful pasta brimming with summer vegetables. You can find this edition at retailers nationwide, such as Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods, and Hudson News.
What's your favorite French culinary destination? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook, drop us a line, or post a comment on our blog. For more tasty bites, sign up for our weekly newsletter to get convenient access to our most-read blog posts, editors' favorite recipes, and exclusive reader offers.
The editors of Gourmet Live