One of the great joys of visiting France has always been to indulge in a leisurely three- or four-course lunch, preferably rounded off by ripe Camembert doing its best to run off your plate.
But now, according to Gira Conseil, France’s leading food industry consultancy, the three-course meal is reportedly a thing of the past. Cost-cutting diners are skipping starters and often puddings, and less than four per cent of meals eaten in restaurants are three or more courses.
One factor for the decline was the arrival of the 35-hour work week a decade ago, which meant shorter hours at work and reduced time for lunch. Alas, the French are spending five per cent less in restaurants and chefs are bemoaning the fact that the once-lofty French cuisine industry is being dragged relentlessly downmarket. Quel dommage!