Without a doubt it is very important that we eat a healthy and balanced diet. I thought I would write this blog entry about the differences that I have found between food and meal culture in England and France. It is clear that food is very important in French culture and is a key thing which brings the family together.
The main difference that I have found between the French and English diet is the meal at lunchtime. When I was at school in England we only had one hour for the lunchtime and would typically eat a sandwich and snack, and we would eat our main meal in the evening. However, in France at lunchtime in the schools where I am working as an English language assistant, there is a two-hour lunch break and the majority of the pupils and staff go home to eat a wholesome three-course meal. This idea of a long lunch break took me a while to get used to but I think it is a good idea as it means you have longer to relax. The longer lunch breaks means that the primary schools finish later in France than the primary schools in England. Schools in England normally finish around 3 p.m. whereas the schools I am working in finish at 4 p.m. in the afternoon.
Another difference that I have found between France and England is the way in which people shop. When shopping in England it is typical to buy all of the things you need for the week, and you plan your meals. Shopping in St Amand Montrond (the town where I live in France) is much more carefree and spontaneous. There is a market twice a week which sells fresh meat, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. I also love going to the bakery each morning to buy fresh bread and if I want to treat myself, I will buy a beautiful pastry or cake. Yesterday I had a cake called a passion framboise, which is a passion fruit and raspberry-flavoured cake layered with cream and fresh fruits. It was delicious! A typical lunchtime meal in France will consist of a starter of cold meats or salad, a hot main course – vegetables and meat – and sweet dessert. Tarte aux pommes (apple tart) is a favourite. The French also love their coffee after a meal.
Food is a big part of French culture and I am loving discovering this. I wonder what new food I will try next? I think it will be delicious, whatever it is!