Phillip Smith

Chief Agricultural Products

The chief agricultural products of France in order of importance are wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes, beef, dairy products,and fish.

Culinary Customs

Etiquette is important to the French. Both hands remain above the table at all times. A man may rest his wrists, and a woman her forearms, on the table edge. One does not place the elbows on the table. The French eat with the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right.

Social meals begin with an appetizer, followed by hors d'oeuvres; a first course of soup or salad; a main course of fish, pasta, or a meat cooked in a crust or sauce; cheese; and then a dessert. Coffee or liquor finish the evening. A typical family meal has two to four courses. Meals with extended family can last up to four hours. When eating out, the person who invites or makes the suggestion usually pays.

Wine is consumed with most meals, except breakfast; numerous varieties are available. Red wine generally accompanies meat and cheese, white wine is drunk with fish, and rose wine is an appetizer. Unless certain of its high quality, foreign guests should not give wine as a gift. In formal meals, champagne is drunk with either the appetizer or the dessert. A vast more intricacies are included for etiquette for the French.

Traditional Holiday Foods

Many holidays include different traditions, for example ;on Christmas Eve, families gather and share specialties like escargots, foie gras, oysters, smoked salmon, turkey, cheese, and baguettes. For dessert, they serve the bûche de Noël, a cake with vanilla or chocolate frosting and flavored filling.On 6 January, the Epiphany (which celebrates the Magi's visit to the baby Jesus) is celebrated by sharing a gâteau des rois (king cake), a round, flat cake with a lucky charm hidden inside.