As the number 1 most visited country in the world, France has a lot to offer especially regarding different food and beverages. If you would like to visit France or have visited but have not yet tried some of these great foods, then it’s a must! If you do have time to revisit or if you are thinking or planning of visiting France then why not give these a try? We will present some of the most famous foods in France and a brief description of each. In no particular order, we are presenting top 15 foods to try in France that will tickle your taste buds.
Coq Au Vin
This dish is a traditional meal in France. It originated in Burgundy, France and is usually cooked with chicken, red wine (sometimes brandy) with mushrooms, onions or garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and roux for the sauce to be thick or some even add the blood of the chicken at the end. The name of the dish is pronounced similarly to “cocoa van” with the word coq meaning rooster or cock and the word vin meaning wine and thus, chicken braised with wine.
Pot Au Feu
This a famous beef stew in France. It is cooked with inexpensive cuts of beef with cartilaginous meat like marrowbone or oxtail and veal for its jelly-like thick broth. It is cooked over low heat for long periods in order to make the meat cuts soft and chewy as well as the vegetables mixed in for that savory flavor. The usual vegetables included are turnips, carrots, parsnips, celery, fresh bay leaves, onions, white cabbages and leeks spiced with salt, pepper, cloves and bouquet garni. Other variations will include other vegetables and spices.
If you love seafood then this is the dish for you. Another classic French dish whose main ingredient is sole (either whole or filleted) garnished with vegetables and sauce. It is an easy dish to make. The fish and the sauce are prepared separately. The fish is cooked in a skillet under medium heat until it’s golden brown and afterwards the sauce is prepared and spooned over the fish and placed with lemon wedges on the side. This dish can be prepared with tons of variations but still has that same lemony, crispy fish meat taste.
Blanquette de Veau
A blanquette is a type of dish where white meat is cooked with white sauce and among all those, Blanquette de Veau is the most famous. White meat are usually lamb, veal or poultry but in this dish, veal is the main ingredient. Pieces of veal which is normally the breast or the shoulder and some diced vegetables are cooked and prepared delicately together with soup stock to bring out that unique flavor. The meat is tender and the sauce goes well with it. It’s preparation is a little tedious being that the veal and the butter are not browned in the cooking process but it’s a great dish to try especially if you love beef.
Another classic French dish is one that hails from Provençal. It is a fish soup from the port city Marseille. It was originally made by Marseille fishermen using rockfish or shellfish and vegetables as the main ingredients. It’s a stew which has 2 or 3 species of fish and is cooked with rouille, a sauce made from mixing saffron, olive oil, garlic, and cayenne pepper. The sauce is usually prepared separately and set aside while the seafood is cooked. Other variations include it being prepared with lobster and other types of fish (whichever is available in the area) and it’s a wonderfully flavored dish you’ll surely loved. It can be served as an appetizer or as a full course meal.
Sausages are usually made of ground meat which can be pork, beef, or veal with salt and spices for a unique taste. A galette on the other hand is a type of crepe usually made from buckwheat as a substitute for bread in the olden days. Putting them together, Galette Saucisse is typically a savory crepe where grilled, hot sausages are wrapped in cold crepes seasoned with mustard and is similar to American hotdog sandwiches.It’s perfect for breakfast or as a snack.
In English, this dish is called Beef Burgundy. This is another one of those dishes that are labeled as peasant dishes in the olden times and slowly modified and improved to be a standard for French Cuisine. This beef stew is slow cooked with wine and vegetables following a long and tedious cooking process but the results are well worth it. It’s a really tasty dish and the good news is that the fat coming from the cuts of meat is the one that’s used in cooking and sauteing the other ingredients. The vegetables included in this dish are the ones commonly found in rural areas like carrots, potatoes, celery and thyme. It was believed that the meat cuts for this dish in the past are those that are tough and hard to sell thus the people had to cook it over a long period of time under low-medium heat.
Ultimate Gratin Dauphinois
Potatoes are one of the best vegetables to eat. It is a staple food for a lot of communities and they’re very easy to grow. This dish is basically sliced potatoes baked in milk and Dauphinois is added to its name since it originated from the Dauphiné region in the southeast part of France. It is oven-baked although there are variations wherein they have it heated on the stovetop. It’s pretty easy to prepare. You just need thinly sliced potatoes, some spices like clove garlic and thyme then milk and cream. It’s perfect to take as a snack or dessert.
Pan Seared Foie Gras
Foie gras is basically the liver of a specially fattened duck (or in some areas, goose) that is used to prepare a type of food. It has a few controversial issues regarding the manner by which the ducks or geese are fed but Pan-seared Foie Gras is deliciously tempting and mouth-watering due to its rich buttery taste. A usual variation to this is serving it with port wine and figs then garnished with herbs and spices. This is great for lunch or dinner depending on your mood. You can try to eat it at a restaurant or try making it yourself. Whichever you prefer, don’t miss out by getting a taste of this delicious French meal.
Gigot D’Agneau Pleureur (Crying Lamb)
For this type of food, the lamb is roasted with potatoes, garlic, thyme and other spices. It is nicknamed the ”crying lamb” and directly translated as “weeping leg of lamb roast” because the lam meat is grilled on top while the juices and fat are dripping down the potatoes. The lamb meat is cooked slowly on a grill with the potatoes placed underneath while the meat is being cooked and thus its oily fat and other juices being sprinkled over and being absorbed by the potatoes underneath. If you love barbecue or any type of grilled food, this is so much better and you should definitely give it a try. The lamb meat is so tender and the potatoes taste juicy and scrumptious.
A famous dish in the south of France, the Cassoulet is directly translated as “Slow-cooked Casserole” and is always cooked with white beans and meat which can be either sausages, mutton, goose or duck (depending on which is available). It was originally named after the cooking pot they used to prepare it with a long time ago. The pot was called cassole, a deep and round earthenware pot. Like any traditional French dish, the meat is also cooked on low medium heat over a long period of time, or basically a confit and then added with spices garlic and ground pepper. The vegetables to have flavor are carrots, parsley, bay leaves, celery and thyme. The cooked beans create this thick soup and the meat juices mixed over the period of cooking is simply fascinating. This is a hearty and aromatic meal that is good for the stomach and the soul.
In France, a lot of snails are eaten which can be up to 500,000,000 per year and that is just a rough estimate and not the actual figure which leads us to reason that a lot of French people love snails or escargot. The snails used for this dish are land snails. They are cooked inside their shells with garlic, butter and parsley (thus the green pigment you see). If you’re hesitant to eat one, I encourage you to give it a try. There’s a reason why these snails are loved by Frenchmen and if you ask them, the reason is because of their juicy taste. They actually taste similar to clams and oysters with a little bit more substance. The snails are usually prepared cold after washing then refrigerated to allow the butter to harden, then afterward cooked in the oven. Believe me, it’s worth being to have a taste.
Poulet a la Comtoise
Chicken soup anyone? Poulet a la Comtoise is chicken smothered in comte cheese and creme fraiche or otherwise called sour cream. They usually use a Bresse chicken for this recipe and can be whole or cut in parts. The chicken is cooked with jura white wine ad some nutmeg. It’s creamy and delicious and can serve as a great meal for cheese lovers too. It is recommended to be eaten with pasta and or fried potatoes.
The Navarin D’Ageneau is a famous lamb stew usually made in spring with new (fresh) vegetables especially during spring school holidays and is a nostalgic meal for French people. Variations for the dish depends on the part of the lamb that is cooked. Some would like the neck and shoulder parts and some use the boned leg steaks. The typical vegetables for this meal would be carrots, potatoes, turnips, and some peas. The stew also includes herbs like thyme, bay leaves and rosemary but some chefs would like to use parsley and olive oil or bouquet garni. The soup stock and wine with the occasional salt and pepper to taste mixed with cream gives that unique flavor. It’s good for lunch or dinner so if you’re planning to visit France during springtime then you should not miss trying this one out too!
Looking for a worthwhile snack or dessert? Try a Croque Monsieur. It’s tasty, crispy and healthy too. It’s easy to make one for yourself as well. It’s very similar to your typical ham and cheese sandwich except that it is either baked, grilled or boiled with the ham and cheese. One other thing notable about it is the béchamel (sauce) served with it. It gives the bread a velvety taste that is oozing with good flavor. It can also serve as breakfast since it perfectly goes with eggs and some string beans. It’s like a ham and cheese pizza with a twist.
Tips for the Gourmet Hunter
When we travel or visit other countries, it is best to expect the unexpected and be prepared for what might happen. Since we are technically leaving our comfort zone to explore new horizons, here are some tips we would like to give especially when you’re trying out new food.
Have an open mind
The ingredients and the manner of cooking would be different for some dishes. If you are one who is not used to exotic type of dishes, try to keep an open mind and you would be able to try them without hesitation.
Before you go exploring, do your research and check the best spots for good food that you’d like to try. Check the famous cities or towns and the best food and snack for each then make your destination map or itinerary to make it easier.
Be Brave and Ready
If you are trying food for the first time, especially those that are considered exotic or uncommon in your place, don’t be afraid to try them as it will give you good experience and also it will help you become a better critique of the different tastes and textures of different types of food.
Ask the Locals
If you have a friend who lives in France, don’t hesitate to ask him or her for suggestions. In case you don’t have any, you may ask the locals or the other tourists within the area especially if you are traveling alone. You may also check forums on the internet or blogs in order for you to have a better idea although, sometimes there are things you can only do when you’re there.
Every experience is an experience worth going through. When you’re trying out food, always remember that you’re also doing this to enjoy yourself. Do not worry so much about the nitty-gritty details, just at least make sure what you’re eating is clean or prepared carefully. You may buy from food stands or if you have the extra cash then why not go to a restaurant.
Traveling Taste Buds
What’s very nice about traveling is that you get to experience new things and learn about different places in the world. Apart from that, you can also enjoy different types of cuisines and get to enjoy different types of food in different regions which is exciting. France has a lot to offer when it comes to their food and hospitality and aside from its rich historical facts, the food would definitely make you full. If no all, some of these top 15 foods to try in France should be included in your itinerary.