France has a reputation for having some of the world’s best cuisine. However, after a long history of the fabulous food that brought France its international fame, this story has been changing nationwide for near about three decades.
Some example of less than exquisite foods can be found in the rural regions of France. Poitou-Charentes, for example, has the signature dish of stuffed cabbage leaf. Other foods found in rural France include dishes smothered in an abundance of buttery sauces and meat of a leathery texture. France is well known for its seafood but now many restaurants are beginning to serve fish that is microwaved from frozen. Desserts are bought from mass market brands and ice cream is not home made.
Thousands of restaurants, brasseries, cafés and bistros are being forced to close every year and vineyards are going bankrupt. Many cheeses are no longer being produced including some of the most famous; even Camembert is under danger of being discontinued.
The question is why this is happening to a country who so clearly once dominated the area of cuisine. The problems stem from three factors. Firstly, a decrease in demand exemplified by fewer people purchasing domestically produced wine. The second reason is that more people are unable to afford the costs of the more expensive restaurants. France has seen difficulties in its economy and high unemployment rates in recent years. Lastly, part of the French culture is to be very nationalistically proud, and this has created an unwillingness to incorporate ideas for other, frequently more successful, countries.
Due to the above factors as well as high taxes and other expenses, it is becoming increasingly difficult for restaurant owners to make a profit, and starting or maintaining food business is becoming very undesirable. Many top chefs are relocating to different places with London and New York being two of the most popular choices.
France still has a chance to regain what it has lost but this means making some major changes. Some members of the younger generation are beginning to embrace new ideas in order to compete with rivalling Spain by dulling down the traditional luxury that incurs numerous additional expenses such as through flowers and decorations.
James Christie writes for Now Health International.