Art of selecting, preparing, serving, and enjoying fine food. Two early centres of gastronomy were China (from the 5th century BC) and Rome, the latter noted for the excess and ostentation of its banquets. The foundations of modern Western gastronomy were laid during the Renaissance, particularly in Italy and France. The influential grande cuisine of France reached its apex in the works of Marie-Antoine Carême and Auguste Escoffier. Regardless of regional differences in cuisine, a primary consideration in food preparation is freshness. Others include complementarity or opposition of taste, contrast of textures, and overall appearance, including colour harmony and accent. See alsonouvelle cuisine.