French food you need to try at least once
The best way to get to know France is through its well-known cuisine. But have you tried all the famous and traditional French dishes? Here’s a list of food you have to try while in France
This tasty fish stew is a traditional Provençal dish invented by fishermen who used the bony rockfish left unsold on the market. Traditionally, the recipe includes red rascasse, sea robin and European conger as well as shellfish and carefully selected herbs and spices from Provence.
Eat it in…Marseille, in the old harbour
When in France…these little molluscs are an unavoidable element of French gastronomy. Traditionally smothered in garlic and parsley butter, you eat them piping hot and straight out of their shell thanks to a little fork.
Eat them in…Burgundy
Also cooked in a fair amount of garlicky and herby butter and sometimes breadcrumbs, once you forget where these little legs come from, frogs legs are really delicious, especially when they are grilled until slightly crisp.
Eat them in…les Dombes area in Ain
Not for the faint-hearted, ‘blood sausage’ is one of France’s oldest recipes. It includes pig’s blood, pork and onions. It is often served with apple sauce and potatoes. There are various regional recipes all over France
Eat it in…any village with a traditional restaurant and a butcher’s
This classic French recipe is an ancient one but still remains very popular. The recipe requires the onions to be slowly caramelized before adding stock and wine. It is then served with a cheese-covered toast which is placed on top.
Eat it in…any traditional bistrot and restaurant
Another type of fat sausage, Andouillette is made with pork (or occasionally veal), intestines or chitterlings, pepper, wine, onions, and seasonings. Don’t be put off by the strong odour of it cooking, this delicacy is loved by locals.
Eat it in…eastern and northern France and in Troyes, Lyon, Orléans, Arras and Tours.
A dish which has gained international fame, this hearty stew is a must during the cold autumn and winter months. Chunks of beef, vegetables and lardons are simmered in stock and red wine and sometimes served with potatoes.
Eat it in…the clue is in the name, Burgundy of course!
Tête de veau
A very traditional recipe, this dish uses an entire calf’s head which is slowly cooked in a light stock and fat for several hours. It is then deboned and stuffed with veal meat, brains, truffles, mushrooms herbs and spices before being braised and served with potatoes.
Eat it in…any traditional French restaurant
This is one of those rich but delicious mountain dishes made to satisfy sporty skiers and cold mountain folk. Creamy sliced potatoes, onions and lardons are topped with Reblochon cheese to create a crispy, gratineed top and a hot creamy centre.
Eat it in…Savoie, after a long day on the slopes
Particularly popular in the winter and during Christmas celebrations, oysters are a dish that you either love or hate. Oysters are eaten alive and purists will simply squeeze a bit of lemon on them but others prefer them baked with creamy leeks.
Eat them in…the Atlantic coast of France, Brittany and Occitanie
A favourite among French recipes, ratatouille is often mistaken for a simple side dish, but when made properly, it is a delicious heart-warming meal full of the flavours of the south. Aubergines, courgettes, onions are stewed in tomatoes and seasoned with Provençal herbs.
Eat it in…Nice
Often compared to a pizza, this tart is composed of bread dough rolled out very thinly in the shape of a rectangle or circle, which is covered with crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions and lardons.
Eat it in…Alsace
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Coq au Vin
Another tasty stew, coq au vin is chicken braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and garlic. Usually cooked with Burgundy red, various regional specialties have their own twist such as such as coq au vin jaune (Jura) or coq au Riesling (Alsace).
Eat it in…Burgundy, Jura, Alsace, Champagne
This rich, slow-cooked casserole contains meat – usually pork, goose or duck – pork skin and white beans. The dish is named after the container it is cooked in, a cassole, a deep earthenware pot.
Eat it in…Occitanie, especially in Toulouse, Carcassonne, and Castelnaudary
A lovely French dessert, these crêpes are prepared with caramelized sugar and butter, orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier on top. It is often prepared in a tableside performance, flambé in front of you.
Eat them in…a café in Paris
The bane of French children who eat at the cantine, this dish is much more appreciated at a later age. It’s a traditional Alsatian recipe which uses sauerkraut (cabbage), sausages and other salted meats and is often served with potatoes.
Eat it in…Alsace
Although Mr Bean isn’t a fan of it, tartare steak is a staple in French bistro cuisine. The dish is made from minced raw beef and served with diced onions, capers, a raw egg and plenty of seasonings. The best way to accompany is a side of crispy frites.
Eat it in…a city bistrot
This traditional French dish is prepared with a filet of sole which has been dipped in flour and pan-fried in butter. It’s served with the resulting butter sauce, parsley and lemon.
Eat it in…anywhere on the coast for the setting
Often served as a starter or during an aperitif, the traditional pissaladière consists of a layer of dough bread topped with caramelised onions, salted anchovies, olives and garlic.
Eat it in…Nice
A truly delicious quiche lorraine is hard to find but this open faced pastry, filled with eggs, cheese and bacon is another classic French recipe, often seen in family picnics.
Eat it in…Lorraine of course
Blanquette de Veau
Blanquette de veau is a meat ragout cooked in the traditional ‘en blanquette’ method which refrains from browning the meat. Veal and vegetables are cooked in a white stock or seasoned water and served with a tasty creamy sauce and rice.
Eat it in…a bistrot which has it on its menu du jour
This spread is similar to pâté but has a more rustic appearance due to the meat being shredded after it has been slowly cooked in fat. Traditionally made with pork, some rillettes are made with goose, duck or even fish!
Eat it in…Le Mans, Tours or Anjou
Another delicious fish stew flavoured with wine and saffron and thickened with rich aïoli, a garlicky mayonnaise which is popular in the south of France.
Eat it in…the Côte d’Azur
A quenelle is made of creamed fish mixed (sometimes meat) with ground bread crumbs and eggs. It is formed in a long egg-shape before being poached and served with a creamy sauce. It used to be a garnish in haute cuisine but is now returning as a dish in itself.
Eat it in…Lyon, famous for its pike quenelles
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