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California Barbecuing, Here We Come!

California’s avant-garde cuisine enjoys a reputation for the creativity with which it celebrates its sunny surroundings! The California table is truly as varied as its population. Its cuisine owes much to Spanish, Mexican, Italian, and Chinese, among other multiple influences.

While folk in southern California may be partial to red meat and extreme sports, those living in northern California are adept at backpacking through the redwoods, and choose to follow organic and vegetarian diets. If California enjoys an ideal climate for grilling dishes on an outdoor barbecue, it’s a tradition we share in the long summer days soon to come. Travel with us for an overview of this métissée cuisine.

Prolific West Coast

  • Californian cuisine puts the accent on freshness of products and often unusual combinations of flavours. It remains simple and minimizes handling of foods to preserve quality.
  • Thanks to rich and fertile valleys, fresh local ingredients abound in California: Olives, figs, oranges, avocados, nuts and apricots, from goat cheese to dried tomatoes, always remembering wine and seafood in any season, of course.
  • Despite a few differences between north and south, fish, seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables are appreciated all along the west coast.

New Cuisine or Fusion Cuisine

  • The Spanish and Mexican influence is prevalent in the south. Numerous “Tex-Mex” (Texan-Mexican) dishes, enchiladas and tacos, are available. Northward, around San Francisco, Asian and Italian culinary traditions come to the fore, even if many of the ingredients do betray their Spanish origins.
  • In fact, almost all the combinations of styles making up ethnic cuisine can be found in Californian cuisine. That's fusion cuisine.
  • Look at it as a meeting of two cuisines: Mediterranean with oriental influences, in which Italian ravioli can be served with peanut sauce, fish grilled in salsa with Chinese vegetables, a ginger risotto, sushi with foie gras or a salad including fresh lettuce, avocado and citrus fruit with a spiced peanut sauce!

Tips for grilling your brochettes

Inspiration of the moment

Grilled vegetables on the BBQ...

Are a classic, but did you know you could also grill fruit? The results are delicious!

Your barbecue enhances the natural flavour of fruits and vegetables and gives them a pleasant ‘smoky’ taste. Fruits like pineapples, apples, citrus, carambolas, kumquats and dried, re-hydrated apricots are delicious in fish, chicken and meat brochettes. You can add softer fruits to preparations with the help of foil packets (papillotes) or serve them on their own as a delicious dessert. As for vegetables, there are so many more possibilities than the usual mushroom-onion-meat brochette. For example, corn on the cob can be cooked directly on the grill and there are so many other tasty variations!"

Find out more...>>

Healthy Cuisine, a Way of Life

  • Healthy cuisine is often associated with vegetarian, Mediterranean or Asian dishes. All these found their way to San Francisco years ago.
  • Gastronomy and healthy cuisine go together today no doubt owing in part to the popularity associated with the taste and tantalizing aromas from foods grilling over outdoor barbecues. Herbs and spices have become seasonings of choice in enhancing both aroma and flavour. Portions are smaller, accompanied by vegetables, presented attractively on dinner plates.

Did You Know That ...

  • Wraps are popular in California. These are tortillas wrapped around meat, fish or vegetables. They cater to all tastes: grilled duck and arugula wrap, grilled salmon and spinach wrap or soy beans, coriander and salsa wrap.


  • Avocados may be used to dress up salads and sandwiches but also go well in omelettes or as a base for soups.
  • Ever popular, salsas are found in virtually all sauces! As appetizer or main course, as dip or spread and as condiment, garnish or marinade for meats and vegetables.
  • Often served with an aperitif, olives find their way into numerous recipes: chicken brochettes, olives and fennel; orzo salad with grilled vegetables, olives and almonds; pork fillets with a mango and olive salsa.

Expert Tip

Serve iced tea, white wine and fresh fruit sangria, or, by all means, a wine from California, with your meal!

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