BEST FOODS TO EAT IN VISIT FRENCH
BEST FOODS TO EAT IN VISIT FRENCH
LEARN MORE ABOUT BEST FOODS TO EAT IN VISIT FRENCH AND EXPLORE THE BEST FOOD TO EAT IF YOU VISIT THE AMAZING FRENCH CUISINE
BEST FOODS TO EAT IN VISIT FRENCH
Speaking about French food is not simple. The French have had a significant effect on gastronomy, and their food is unique. No matter what cuisine you wish to specialize in as a chef, you must learn French gastronomy since that is where the majority of the formal fundamentals of cooking originated. It and I have always had a love-hate relationship. Despite the fact that French cuisine is timeless and delicious, the chef who taught me the methods was, well, pretty French.
Putting all the technicalities aside, this cuisine is undeniably decadent and delicious. I am always in awe of the food when I visit France. You can choose to go to any region and the food will never disappoint you. One thing to keep in mind though, the array of dishes in French cuisine is massive and more than often it can get intimidating when it comes to choosing from a menu, from popular croissants to lesser-known dishes that are equally impactful, and important you try while visiting France. So, with the dishes I am about to suggest, I hope to achieve a good mix of flavours that would elevate your French food experience.
1- BOEUF BOURGUIGNON
Let’s jump straight into one of the most classic French dishes.
For most French locals, Boeuf Bourguignon is the unoﬃcial national dish of France.
Beautifully browned meat is slowly braised in pinot noir wine with a bunch of aromatics until the meat is tender and the wine is reduced, resulting in a luxurious sauce.
In many preparations, the meat is stewed for a day or two and tastes better the day after the initial preparation.
The extra time allows for deeper and more complex flavours to develop.
Auguste Escoﬃer, the father of the modern cuisine, was reportedly, the first to have worked on the recipe that we all know and love now.
This beef stew from Burgundy might very well be the origin of the modern stewing technique, as it’s preparation dates back to the Middle Ages and you don’t want to miss on that.
This dish was invented by the fishermen to use all the leftover or unsold lean fishes as a way to avoid wastage.
Which was once an extremely humble soup, is now a true French Provençal delicacy.
I am always in awe of this dish, actually it is more of a stew but the way it is served, is what makes this soup/stew unique.
Diﬀerent types of fish and shellfish are cooked in an extremely flavourful base (stock) until perfection, but served apart from the soup.
All the fish gets plated in a big platter, the broth apart and then you can mix it up however you see fit; and as a side, you get crisp bread slices topped with Rouille (spicy saﬀron mayo).
The way this Marseille dish comes together is truly magnificent.
3- COQ AU VIN
The locals of Burgundy really know how to use their wine.
Well, you will notice that the French, generally, are amazing at pairing wines and foods.
Coq Au Vin is another classic example.
Traditionally, this dish is made with rooster but over the years, chicken has modernised this staple.
The preparation starts oﬀ just like any other stew but a few additions really make this dish flourish.
Bacon is added while frying the aromatics which gives it an extra savoury oomph and towards the end, the sauce thickened by the use of chicken blood.
Typically, brandy and vinegar are mixed with the blood, to prevent coagulation but it adds another layer to this bold tasting dish.
Coq au Vin is rich, delicious and when served with some mash
potatoes, extremely comforting.
4- FRENCH ONION SOUP
This is one of the most famous soups, not just in France but all over the world.
This is the easiest dish to spot at any French restaurant anywhere in the world.
I must say though, it hits diﬀerent when enjoyed locally, specially in a Parisian bistro.
There is a legend that it was created by King Louis XV to satiate his late night cravings.
I find it kind of funny because this dish takes a long to time to prep, so not a great choice in the middle of the night.
The fame surrounding this soup is justified, as its rich taste is unbeatable.
Slowly caramelised onions cooked in rich beefy broth and champagne, topped with crusty bread and a heap of gruyere, broiled until golden.
It is extremely satisfying when you break through the fatty cheese and reach the sweet oniony goodness.
When talking about the weird foods in France, frog legs and escargots (snails) stand out.
Let’s not talk about frogs; Escargots however are delicious and make a fantastic start to any French meal.
They are little, meaty morsels which wonderfully absorb any flavour they are cooked in.
Most commonly you will find them prepared with a ton of butter, parsley and garlic.
They are served in a special plate that has indentations for each snail, snail tongs and snail fork.
You use the tongs or a napkin to hold the shell and the narrow fork to scoop the meat out.
They are a true culinary treat and all the buttery sauce left behind can be scooped up with a good piece of bread (my favourite part).
6- ROUGAIL SAUCISSE
This dish is kind of a ‘curve ball’ on this list because of its origins; it’s a saucy dish that comes from the island of Reunion.
This is where the French cuisine gets a spicy kick from some Indian flavours.
During the 19th century, a large amount of Indians made their way to Reunion as labour and completely changed their gastronomy.
Rougail is kind of like a ‘masala’; it is a mix of onions, tomatoes, hot peppers and a bunch of spices.
To the mix, Creole sausages are added, resulting in a flavour bomb.
I like to include this suggestion because while Reunion is in the Indian Ocean, in Africa, it is still French.
I was introduced to this dish by a Parisian, so keep an eye out for it and trust me you want to try it.
DECADENT FRENCH FOOD – RICH AND HEARTWARMING FLAVOURS
7- QUICHE LORRAINE
I am extremely biased towards breakfast foods and Quiches are quite unbeatable when it comes to that.
Historically, quiche originated in Germany but the version that we devour currently is French.
You get to eat bacon, eggs and dough in one homogenous bite; that just shouts tasty to me.
While there are tons of variations now, Quiche Lorraine is arguably the most authentic one.
Luscious egg custard, flavoured with smokey bacon, cheese and then filled in a shortcrust dough; you think about it and your mouth waters.
Coming from the Alsace region, Quiche Lorraine is something you need to get while traversing around the country.
8- CROQUE MONSIEUR AND MADAME
Two timeless sandwiches with one distinction; an egg.
These are truly a decadent treat, so I advise you to go for it with an appetite.
I am a big fan of eggs so I will be focusing in on the lady.
Croque Madame is just Croque Monsieur with a fried egg on top and honestly, the egg elevates the entire sandwich.
Sliced ham and gruyere cheese gets layered between two pieces of butter laden white bread, the entire thing gets coated in béchamel and more cheese, then broiled to a perfect golden brown.
This is what true decadence means.
Both the sandwiches are extremely filling and satisfying.
It is a dish that needs to be enjoyed in a Parisian bistro.
Fun fact: Croque Madame is the inspiration for the famous Francensinha sandwich in Porto.
9- CONFIT DE CANARD
To confit meat, in a traditional sense, is to preserve it.
While this technique originated as a means to increase the shelf life of various products, many of those products have turned into delicacies.
Most notably, Duck Confit, which is now one of the most gourmet dishes in France.
Coming from the Gascogne region in the south of France, Confit de Canard involves cooking duck thighs in their own fat.
The meat is cooked extremely slowly until it becomes juicy tender and the skin turns golden and crispy.
You will find Duck confit in fine dining restaurants or you can pick up a jar of preserved cooked duck, stored in duck fat; both of the options would result in a rich, soul-satisfying and indulgent eat.
10- GRATIN DAUPHINOIS
Potatoes and cheese are a match made in heaven.
People are crazy about it and justifiably so.
Gratin Dauphinois is about to be your new favourite; comforting creamy potatoes lathered in butter and the traditional method doesn’t even use cheese.
Trust me there is no need of cheese in this preparation, just a ton of cream.
Potatoes are sliced thinly, coated in seasoned butter and cream mix, baked to a beautiful golden crust.
It comes from the Dauphine region in southeast France but there are numerous variations now.
It is the perfect side to any meat and I have had many versions where cooked meat is layered between the potatoes.
It works fabulously anyway you want to have it, I mean, when have creamy potatoes not been tasty?
You know a dish is special when there is an entire annual festival devoted to it.
Rillettes are a true feat of the French cuisine, coming from the Pays de la Loire region in the northwest.
Rillettes are similar to pâté and can be done in numerous ways.
Also another way of preserving meat; here the meat or seafood is chopped to a chunky mince, seasoned with ingredients of choice and then slowly cooked in fat.
Hours of cooking results in the meat breaking down and then the final product is jarred with a layer of fat to help in the preservation.
Any rillette is a true star on the French charcuterie board when served with some fresh baguette, but Rillette du Mans is the most authentic and the one I like to go for.
12- PÂTÉ EN CROÛTE
I remember spending hours and hours at getting this piece of art right.
A lot of care and skill goes into making this dish just right.
While the name has pâté in it, the texture of the meat inside more closely resembles a terrine, where the components are tightly packed and given a loaf like shape.
Unlike terrine or rillette, this dish doesn’t require to be served with bread or crackers on the side; the entire pâté is covered in a shortcrust pastry dough.
The final product is served just like that, as the name translates to ‘pâté in the crust’, so you can dig in directly.
There is also a world championship that takes place every year where chefs try to create the most perfect pâté en croûte.
Also, it tastes as good as it looks.
13- GALETTE BRETONNE
Not to be confused with the Galette de Rois, which is a puﬀ pastry cake, this ‘Galette’ comes from the region of Brittany.
Locals of Brittany has a completely diﬀerent understanding of Galette.
Galette Bretonne is a savoury crepe made specifically with buckwheat flour.
Originating between the 14th and 15th century due to the extreme surplus of buckwheat, this dish is now enjoyed as a main all over France.
In the olden days, galettes were enjoyed with sardines and eggs but now the most common versions include sausage, ham and cheese.
They are beautifully presented in their iconic square shape, with a bright yellow yoke right in the centre.
A quaint little cafe serving a well made Galette Bretonne with a nice cup of coﬀee is all you need during the lunch hour.
14- MORTEAU SAUSAGE
If you are a fan of sausages, be ready because this one is about to blow your mind.
Morteau sausage is named after the city it comes from; Morteau, a small city next to the French-Swiss border.
The Franche- Comté region is extremely famous for its cheese but this sausage is where the real regional treasure lies.
This sausage is beautifully smoked, made with a specific pork breed that is native to its region and even the parts of pork used need to be just ham, shoulder or belly.
After being cured with spices like cumin, juniper and garlic, it is the smoking process that gives it a distinct flavour.
The sausage is smoked over juniper, spruce and pine for a minimum of 48hours, until the texture is firm and it has an amber exterior.
Trust me, you cannot miss out on this sausage.
I suggest you to go to Morteau to have it, it is truly worth it.
FRENCH DESSERTS – A TOUCH OF FRENCH SWEETNESS
Never thought that such a magnificent dessert would have born out of a cycling race.
That is exactly what Paris-Brest is, an homage created during the long distance bicycle race, ‘Paris-Brest-Paris’ by chef Louis Durand.
Almond laden choux dough is baked in the shape of a ring, sliced in half and filled with a mix of praline paste, classic vanilla cream and whipped butter.
This beauty served with a dusting of powered sugar, looks heavy but is surprisingly light.
The crisp choux dough with the silky nutty filling and the sweetness of the praline paste makes for a great combination.
While talking about French desserts, it is impossible to skip puﬀ pastry.
Puﬀ pastry is the crown jewel of France and for me it shines greatly when used in Mille-feuille.
The name of this dessert means ‘thousand- leaves’ and while it does not have a thousand layers, it is layered quite well.
Light flaky puﬀ pastry sliced open and layered with classic pastry cream (usually three layers of puﬀ pastry and two of the cream).
It is simple but hits all the flavour notes perfectly.
There are many variations where the tops are glazed but the most traditional ones are finished with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Mille-feuille is something that you would always be grabbing whenever you can.
17- TARTE TATIN
This dish has a massive history behind it and is definitely one of the most famous French desserts.
Dating back to the 1880s, this upside down dessert was born out of an accident by the Tatin sisters.
The sisters gained popularity and even opened a hotel in 1894 serving this famous tarte.
The recipe was passed through many hands and also brewed up many legends around it.
Even after all this time, Hotel Tatin is still running and serving up this delicacy.
There are many versions of this tarte being served around the world, even savoury ones but the authentic recipe is done with caramelised apples and puﬀ pastry.
Personally, I enjoy it even more when it is topped with some creme
18- CRÈME BRULÉE
Don’t you dare think that I forgot to mention Crème Brulée, which is one of the desserts that played a massive part in forging custards as we know them.
Variations of crème brulée are served all over the Western Europe and while this dish is extremely famous around the globe too, there is just something about digging into one in its original French setting.
This dessert has been talked about since late 1600s.
The lightly sweet smooth egg custard covered by the crunchy caramelised sugar, always makes for a good ending to any meal.
Also, cracking the burnt sugar with a light tap of the spoon never gets old.
Fun fact — there are versions where instead of sprinkling the sugar on top and burning it, caramelised sugar discs are made separately and then placed on top of the custard.
JUST FRENCH CHEESE LEFT
Coming back to the Franche-Comté region of eastern France.
People are quite familiar with Comté cheese and know how fantastic it tastes.
There is another mind-blowing cheese that comes from this region and that is Morbier.
It is a semi-soft cheese with really balanced flavours and a nutty aftertaste.
Made with raw cow’s milk, this cheese has a unique identification; a line of ash running through its centre.
Back in the days, the ash served a purpose in the formation of the cheese but now it purely decorative.
This cheese is bound to make a mark on you due to its unique flavour.
I always try to bring back as much of morbier as I can, every time I visit the region.
While Raclette is a Swiss cheese, it is equally important to the French cuisine.
It is extremely popular among the French and many say that you haven’t experienced a good French house party until you have been to a Raclette party.
Raclette means ‘to scrape’ and this cheese has its own specific grill; you can grill meats or veggies on the top and broil the cheese on the bottom.
Once the cheese is golden and bubbly, you then scrape it on top of your desired ingredient.
When done in a restaurant, it is an awe aspiring visual to see a ton of cheese flowing on to your dish, oﬀ the cheese wheel.
Even if you are not in France, I urge you to try it at home.
This cheese can be enjoyed with boiled potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions, charcuterie meats and even grilled meats (my mantra is to put it on top of whatever is in front of me).
Again, I have to say this, French gastronomy is massive! I encounter new delicacies every time upon visiting.
There is just so much to discover from region to region.
The dishes that I have suggested will give you an overall understanding of the French flavours but you need to travel there and also, be confused by the options this country presents.