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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Cuisine – Bio?

Flowers- BIO/http://bicyclegourmet.com

While French Cuisine has always been fresh, (it’s major “secret”), and is often “organic”, nowadays it as ascended to “bio.” Short for “biodynamic.” As in grown according to biodynamic methods

So what exactly, you  may well ask, are ‘biodynamic methods? And how do they differ from “organic methods?”

To paraphrase a famous  line from Groucho – “Let me answer the second question first.”

“Organic”, as any card carrying Californian will tell you,  is agriculture free from chemicals. Which, additionally uses companion planting to keep the bugs away. (ie – marigolds  planted next to the tomatoes,)


“Biological” is agriculture adhering to the principles espoused by the Austrian philosopher Ruldoph Steiner. The main principle being to aid plant growth by the application of  heavily diluted natural fertilizers, at specific phases of the moon. in essence “biological” agriculture is homeopathy for the soil.

Now while “planting  by the phases of the moon” may, to some, sound like new age voodoo, your grandfather will confirm that this is a pratice savvy farmers have always followed. For the best of reasons. it works. It produces the desired results.

However These precise  differences between “organic” and “bio” are lost on the average froggie  in the street, who regards them as two labels for the same thing.

Thus you find truck farmers hawking their wares as “bio” – simply because they were grown without chemicals. Not clear on the concept.

Which,  of course is great news for the monoliths of food commerce, Confusion? – allllrighty then! We can exploit that. We can be “greener” than our competitors.

And so, like everything that starts out new, good, and good for you, there are always those who will jump in with both feet to package it, and, bien suir, flog it mercilessly to fill their wallets.

Ergo, as you would expect the World of French commerce is all over “bio” like a cheap suit.Fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, wine have all been elevated to “bio” status. Likewise, their prices.


The giant embrace the French have given “bio”, is, I think, rooted in a conciousness and a tradtion which is uniquely French. That is the concept of “terroir.” (pro – “tear-wahr”) A regard for the land that approaches reverence for the French. Whose pride in their country is unquestionably reflected in it’s products.Thus the great majority of the French treat the land with respect. Not chemicals.

Without question – biodynamic agriculture has raised the bar for food quality standards. And that’s a good thing. But the confusion arising from the lack of “average joe/froggie” info about exactly what it is, it’s properites and methods, needs to be addressed.

Otherwise, it risks becoming just another arrow in the food marketing quiver.

That’s my rant. And I’m stickin’ to it!


What are ya thinkin’?

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8 Responses to “French Cuisine – Bio?”

  1. pedro graisse says:

    interesting that while france is considered the land of gastronomy, that the average french person isn’t, as you put it – “clear on the concept.”

  2. jenny fitzsimmons says:

    great explanation of the difference between “bio” and “organic.” news to me!

  3. michel bosset says:

    As a winemaker, I applaud this very informative post, and hope that my fellow French will also. The distinction you make may be considered small by some, but in wine culture, as in cuisine, it is the details that make the difference between good and great.

  4. barbara billy says:

    i really don’t see how all this bio stuff could really make food or wine any better than organic. seems to me to be just another marketing gimmick.

  5. Stanislav Richter says:

    Your unique perspective on French wine and food is exceptional, and greatly appreciated.

  6. randi bluemen says:

    whether or not they can appreciate the difference between “bio” and “organic” – at least the french have a better regard for food than most of the rest of the world.

  7. grant pedersly says:

    you stuff just keeps getting better! don’t stop!!!

  8. steven wright-smith says:

    In my travels through France I’ve noticed the same ignorance regarding bio and organic. good on you for pointing it out to all your other readers who may not be as fortunate to have had the “French experience.”

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