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Bastille Day Basics

The ultimate faux pas would be not learning all you could about Bastille Day and all the amazing food we should eat in its honor.

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It's not Déjà Vu! If you didn’t get enough Fourth of July fireworks, barbecue, and festivities, you’ll be happy to know that July has another national holiday of the red, white, and blue variety! (or rather, le bleu, blanc, et rouge).

This day commemorates the storming of the Bastille, a medieval fortress-turned-prison in Paris, on July 14, 1789. This occurrence marked an important turn of events during the French Revolution and led to the proclamation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen in the month that followed.

Bastille Day is full of pomp and circumstance. The Bastille Day Military Parade up the Champs-Elysees has been held annually on the morning of July 14th since 1880 and is the oldest and largest military parade in Europe. At night, the Tour Eiffel lights up with splendid fireworks.

This holiday doesn’t have any staple foods, providing the perfect excuse to indulge in French cuisine however you like! Similar to many other cuisines, it’s separated by five regions, each with its own unique star ingredient or style of preparation. For example, dishes North East, Bourgogne, and Alsace feature regional specialities such as game, apple, mustard and wine. Coq au Vin, Quiche Lorraine, Beef Bourguignon, and Escargot with Garlic, Butter and Parsley all originated from this region.

Many see French wine as a reflection of the people -- well-dressed and elegant without excessive flavors or aromas. For this reason, French wines are excellent for food pairings as they bring out the flavors of the dish instead of overpowering it.

Given the sophistication and delicacy of French cuisine, it’s no surprise that the most prestigious cooking school, the Cordon Bleu, originated in France. Some basic French cooking techniques include: braising, flambeing, poaching, sauteing, and julienning.

Interestingly enough, “entree”, a word borrowed from the French language and meaning “main dish” in English, actually means appetizer!

French cuisine is way more than just wine, cheese, and baguettes. Take Bastille Day as an opportunity to show this magical cuisine some lovin’!

Bon appetit on this special day!

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