To make a good soup, the pot must only simmer or smile - French proverb
Regional French food is the combination of traditional cooking practices from France. French cuisine, as we know it today, is a much evolved version of what it used to be in the old days. If you try to trace back the origin of French food, you will find the influence of many neighboring countries' culture like those of Spain and Italy. They heavily influence French cuisine and added to the traditional flavors of the region. But the French have been able to retain the originality and traditional techniques making the French food a benchmark in world cuisine.
The concept of culinary tourism and of course, Guide Michelin have acquainted the world with tastes from the French countryside. This has led to the proliferation of local French dishes into international bestselling recipes across the culinary world. Even the knowledge of French cooking is considered to be the backbone of many Western cuisines and cooking schools. This was acknowledged by UNESCO in 2010 when it declared French gastronomy as an intangible cultural heritage.
Types of French Cuisine
The French cuisine is famous for fine food and exclusive recipes. You will find every region in France with their own specialty, giving French cuisine such a diverse flavor. French cuisine is quite popular as a multicultural cuisine. Take a look at the most popularly enjoyed French foods.
All of you have gorged on these crescent-shaped bread rolls, haven't you? Made in a similar manner as a normal bread, the French croissant is tasty because of the additional ingredients of egg, sugar, milk, and butter. The chef or the bread maker would first make the dough with butter, fold it and then roll it into a sheet to bake. Once ready, these tasty bread rolls resemble a puffy pastry. With more experimentations on French food, even frozen croissants are available in the market and are a hot favorite.
Another subtle masterpiece from the French cuisine, the quiche is a type of savory pie filled with custard, cheese, meat and veggies. Here is a trivia for you- did you know that the quiche is originally from Germany? But the French made it famous to the extent of it being identified as a French food. Quiche Lorraine is the most popular variant of this food and is made with a filling of custard and smoked bacon.
Pommes de Terre Duchess in French, this a classic French breakfast item. They are nothing but your traditional mashed potatoes with lots of seasoning and shaped like a meringue. You basically have to bake them along with butter and egg yolks to get a golden brown shade and serve along with a protein like fish or meat.
What are the other famous French dishes?
Burgundy French Food
The Burgundy region of France is known for its wine and rich and hardy food. It is one of the top regions in France with many vineyards- small and big. Needless to say that wine is a key ingredient in Burgundy food. And it tastes as good as its wine.
Popular Burgundy French Food
The region is filled with palatable and savory ingredients, making it a famous tourist destination as well. Some of the most famous foods from this region include:
- Beef Burgundy: It is a beef stew that uses an entire wine bottle as its main ingredient apart from the meat.
- Coq Au Vin: This is an item you may have seen even in French restaurants in India. It is a delicious chicken stew made with wine.
- Oeufs En Meurette: If you love eggs, you will fall in love with this dish. This recipe uses poached eggs as its main ingredient along with wine, onion, mushroom, and bacon.
- Burgundy cheese is also very famous and can be found in many forms.
- Black currants: They grow in plenty on the Burgundy hillsides and are used abundantly in desserts and savories alike.
- Sweets and Desserts: Famous Burgundy sweets include gingerbread, Madelines of Commercy, delicious jams, etc.
Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, is famous for its annual gourmet festival called the Foire Internationale et Gastronomique de Dijon. Hosted in October-November every year, the festival sees the amalgamation of chefs, cooking competitions, demo classes, wine tasting, and much more. It is attended by people from all over the world.
Brittany French Food
If you love seafood, then you will fall in love with Brittany French food. Brittany, a key vegetable producing region of France, is famous for its seafood and pancakes. The cider, which is typically served with pancakes, is equally tasty. You'd be amazed to know that Brittany accounts for almost 80% of France's shellfish production!
The Famous Brittany Oysters
Oysters are available in plenty and is widely farmed across the region. There are mainly two types of oysters found in this region:
- Rock oysters
- Flat oysters
You can enjoy a good oyster on any day in Brittany. But the best time to enjoy the food is between September to April. The reason for this is because summers are gestation time for these oysters who become bloated and milky. That may not be to everyone's liking both in terms of taste and even ethics (who wants to gulp down a pregnant oyster?)
You can also enjoy mussels with shallot and white wine. They are served on the beaches and in restaurants alike. The seafood platter is also not to be missed. A standard Brittany seafood platter consists of:
And then of course, there is the famous Brittany pancake. You cannot visit Brittany and not try out the tons of flavored pancakes.
French Food in Paris
Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you what you are - French Proverb
What is Paris not famous for? Beautiful countryside, wine, cheese, fashion, and its food! You will always find people in Parisian restaurants. French food in Paris is as famous as the Eiffel Tower itself. And this is because even in a modern day city like Paris, people hold traditional French food very dear to their hearts. And that is why some of the fanciest, Michelin- starred restaurants are where you will find the best local French flavors.
French food in Paris is a combination of staples and savory dishes. Thanks to the country's temperate climate, the skilled French chefs can use their techniques to turn the basic local ingredients to delicious and top-class dishes.
Paris has some of the world's best pastry chefs and bakers. Bread, as you already know, is a staple food for the French. It thus makes sense to specialize in it and serve palatable variations of it.
A popular form of bread, the baguette, is high in demand all over France. You will often find Parisians thronging the bakeries or patisseries for this long skinny loaf of bread that has a crisp crust and soft filling inside. The locals buy baguettes almost on a daily basis. The standard way to eat it is to share a long loaf and tear it into small pieces while eating.
Paris is filled with fine dining restaurants, bistros and cafes. The French have a taste for fine food and they take this very seriously. A fine meal along with good wine is what makes them happy and satisfied at the end of a long day at work. And it doesn't have to be at a fancy restaurant. You can enjoy a fine dinner with your friends and family even at a roadside café in Paris.
Recommendations for French Food in Paris
While in Paris, try out these gastronomical wonders that are a mix of French tradition and experimentation:
- Coq Au Vin or chicken stew stirred in wine and served with vegetables
- Biftech Hache a La Lyonnaise or the most delicious hamburger with onions and herbs
- A salad of tuna, vegetable and anchovy called the Salade Nicoise
- Steak Bearnaise or fillet mignon served with the famous Bearnaise sauce
- Pot Au Feu or a mixture of boiled beef, sausages, pork and vegetables
- Beef stew in Burgundy wine or Boeuf Bourguignon
Your mouth must be watering by now. So, you can either catch a flight to Paris to enjoy the wine and cheese or search for the nearest French restaurant for a taste of heaven right here.
Want to know how French cuisine came to be?