Some of you may have been watching the BBC series ‘Kew on a Plate’. For this programme, a walled garden at Kew, which used to supply the Royal kitchens up until the reign of Queen Victoria, has been brought back to life by French chef Raymond Blanc, presenter Kate Humble and the professional gardeners from Kew. They have filled the borders with a rich variety of fruits and vegetables, many of which are heritage varieties that may have graced the royal table.
The programme highlights the diversity of produce that can be grown by gardeners across the UK. It also explores the history behind some of our most popular crops and the global influences that have changed our tastes. Each week Raymond Blanc picks items from the garden and creates a delicious looking dish from these fresh ingredients.
This idea of taking what is in season and grown locally as the main ingredient is nothing new. In fact it is at the heart of French cuisine. From auberges (traditional country inns) to the Michelin starred restaurants, a French menu typically reflects the produce of the region; locally reared meat, locally produced cheeses, locally grown vegetables and of course regional wines.
Much of France is rural; open countryside where livestock roam, crops grow and vineyards draw in the sun. In addition, France has an expansive coastline and particularly along the west coast of France, fish and seafood plays a prominent part in the regional dishes. By cooking and serving locally sourced, seasonal produce, the food on your plate is more likely to be fresh, tasty and nutritious.
There is no need to fill the plate with a vast array of items; a few simple flavoursome ingredients are all that is needed to produce a delicious meal. When you only have a few ingredients to work with, you can ensure that they are cooked to perfection. This is why French cuisine in internationally renowned.
So, when you are on your French holiday you can get a real taste of the region by heading out for a meal. Carisma’s French campsites are situated along the west coast, where seafood will feature on the menu of many local restaurants, however regional meats and seasonal vegetables can also be tasted. Be brave and opt for a chef’s special accompanied by a regional wine, rather than something more familiar. It all adds to the holiday experience!
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