Many immigrants from California bring their culinary traditions to the state. Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine, as well as many other foreign dishes can be found throughout California.
In 1903, the Landmarks Club Cookbook (which was published to raise funds for the restoration of the Spanish Missions of California) claimed that Los Angeles has the most diverse cuisine of all cities.
Products play an important role in California cuisine. California has many climatic conditions and therefore can grow many types of products. In addition, the Central Valley of California contains some of the most fertile soils in the world. California is the number one producer in the United States of many common fruits and vegetables, including broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and avocados. A health-conscious culture also contributes to the popularity of fresh produce. Fruit festivals, such as the National Orange Show Festival in San Bernardino County, are common throughout the state.
Avocado plays a special role in California cuisine. Many popular California dishes contain avocado and/or guacamole. Avocados were unfamiliar to most Americans until the mid-20th century, when producers of subtropical fruits successfully persuaded many Americans to try them. In California, avocado is commonly used in sandwiches, burgers, salads, and even pizza, in addition to tacos and other Mexican dishes.
California is also a major producer of tomatoes. California tomatoes have become the main ingredient of ketchup, although initially ketchup was made from everything from plums to mushrooms.
With Napa Valley in the north, Santa Barbara and Temecula Valley in the southern part of the state, California is the fourth largest wine producer in the world, and accounts for 90 percent of wine production in the United States. Originally started by Spanish settlers to create wine for mass in the 18th century, the wine industry in California competes with other wine-producing countries of the world such as France, Australia and Chile, even winning the Decision of the Paris Wine Competition.
McDonald’s, In-n-Out, Jack in the Box, Rubio’s, Round Table Pizza, Taco Bell, Del Taco, Jamba Juice, Carl’s Jr., California Pizza Kitchen, Wienerschnitzel and The Cheesecake Factory originates in California.
California combines American, Mexican, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, as well as healthy lifestyle trends and food with a strong emphasis on seasonality. What many do not know: there are also excellent local wines. This is a real paradise for gourmets who can choose from a wide variety of tastes and ways of treating – after all, the pleasure of eating together is just as important as specialty dishes.