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European Food Q&A





Q.  How did French food become so stuffy?

Q.  What is saganaki?  Is it an ancient food?

Q.  What time to Greeks eat Baklava?

Q.  Is it easy to make fondue at home?





Q. What's the deal- why is it French food is stuffy?  Why not Italian food, or Spanish food?  What gives?


A. France, like many other regions of the world, has always prided itself on its local produce.  Dijon mustard, fine wines, fresh cheeses, truffles, and so on.  If you travel there, you'll find that even with simpler restaurants, the cooks will take pride in what they prepare.  The stuffy element of French food, though, came about 200 years ago, when French chefs started to be in hot demand by European aristocracy.  Russian Czars, British Kings and others, all wanted to replicate the lavish buffets and rich, creamy foods originally created by a chef called Antonin CarêmeHe is sometimes known as 'The Founder of French Gastronomy'.



Q.  Is saganaki an ancient Greek food item?


A.  Saganaki, the delicious grilled cheese dish, has been around Greece and Turkey for quite some time.  Exactly how long, though, is something we're still looking into.  Given that cheese has been around for many millenia now, the question comes down to "when did some bright spark decide to try grilling it in a saganaki pan?" 



Q.  What time do Greeks eat baklava?


A.  Baklava is a dessert, so eat it any time you'd normally eat a dessert food: After meals.  With coffee in the afternoon.  As a midnight snack (don't think we don't know!).



Q.  I'd like to make a romantic meal at home and am thinking about making fondue.  Is it easy to make from scratch?


A.  There are two ways to make fondue at home. Whichever way, you'll need a good fondue set. If you don't have one, browse the sets (big and small) here: Food Virgin Shop

Once you have a set, you'll need to either a) make fondue from scratch, or b) buy a box to make it at the grocery store. Even if you're a good cook, getting the consistency of fondue right can be difficult. I've tried to make it twice now, and the first time, it turned out well, but the second time, it tasted good, but turned into one giant lump. A tasty lump, but still a lump.

With chocolate, the likelihood of a recipe from scratch turning out OK is better, but it is so much easier to use the fondue tablets that you can buy that I have yet to actually make it from scratch.






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