French Cooking 101: Spices

The secret to exquisite French cuisine is the complex flavors brought by spices.

There are seven essential spices that French cooks use to create mouth-watering, intense flavors in their dishes. So, if you have them in your spice rack or storage, then you can get yourself cooking with these to create your first French meal.

Bouquet Garni

It’s mainly a bouquet of herbs like parsley, thyme, sage, peppercorn, and bay leaves tied on butcher string. They all work well with stock and French soups and have a uniquely bold flavor.

Fine Herbs

Chives, chervil, parsley, and tarragon are freshly picked and chopped to finer cuts to produce that delicate taste. However, they are best added at the end of the cooking process for a little extra flavor.

Herbes de Provence

This spice mix of rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender, dill, bay leaves, fennel, and sage are dried and crushed together. They are the best spice for any Mediterranean dish, especially those in southern France.


The warm and nutty flavor isn’t just for baking or tea. Nutmeg is also used in creamy sauces like Bechamel.


The floral and earthy flavor of this rare spice is best served in French seafood dishes.


Referred to as French curry, it is a mix of onions, cumin, garlic, shallots, cardamom, curry leaves, black mustard, black pepper, fenugreek, and turmeric. Its aromatic curry flavor is best for French dishes with seafood, poultry, or vegetables.

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