French cuisine has an excellent reputation and is world renown. This part of their culture is fundamental to this Gallic country’s culture, and even to its economy. In fact, French cuisine has had such an impact around the world that 10 years ago it was declared a “World Intangible Heritage” by the UNESCO .
Next April 16th French gastronomy will be celebrated world-wide thanks to an even called “Goût de France” (A Taste of France). This event has been dubbed in English as “Good France” and was created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alongside Alain Ducasse to promote traditional French cuisine around the World.
At DiscoveringParis.com we’ve decided to join the festivities of this unique and beautiful celebration and have prepared a list of some of the most emblematic French dishes for you to try on your future trip to Paris!
The selection process was far from easy. There are many delicacies that didn’t quite make the cut, but we’ve listed them at the end of the article for you to keep in mind.
Here we go!
1 . Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Bourguignon/Burgundy):
This plate is a beef stew prepared with Charolaise beef and Burgundy wine (hence its name). Onions, carrots, garlic, thyme and bay leaves are added, and the ensemble is left to marinate over a slow fire. This is, hands down, our all-time favorite.
2 . Cassoulet:
Its name comes for the casserole in which it is prepared. A very rich plate, both calorically and nutritionally, its recipe consists of meat (there are many variations, mostly pork) and white beans. This plate originated in Toulouse.
3 . Ratatouille:
One of the most famous specialties from the south of France; this recipe uses only vegetables and herbs. Simply put, it is like a vegetable stew, and uses eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, basil and olive oil. It can be served as both an entrée and a garnish.
4 . Quiche Lorraine:
A quiche is a savory tart, which uses puff pastry dough for its base, and is filled with a mix of eggs, crème fraiche (sour cream), milk and bacon that is then baked. It can be served as a starter, an entrée or as a side. We love to have a slice with a nice fresh salad, tomatoes and vinaigrette. You can find this dish in many bakeries as well.
5 . Magret de Canard:
The “magret” is the breast of the duck, in this plate it is finely sliced and can be garnished by a variety of options: potatoes, vegetables, purées and can be embellished with an orange sauce or even smoked. Duck meat is red meat, so this dish should be paired with a nice red wine. This is a national favorite.
6 . Tartiflette:
This dish has its origins in the Savoy mountain-region and is typically eaten during the winter months. Its base ingredients are potatoes, bacon, onions, and the ensemble is topped with reblochon cheese and cooked “au gratin”, meaning it is put into the oven to allow the cheese to melt-over the rest of the dish and brown. For those that decide to travel to France during the winter and wander through the Christmas markets, this plate is a must!
7 . Galettes and crêpes:
Alright, we’ll be honest, crêpes and Discovering Paris have what can only be described as a love story, we even dedicated a full article to them recently. We love them. They are delicious, inexpensive, and full of yummy ingredients! Originally from the Brittany region, they come in both sweet (crêpes) and savory (galettes) formats. They are not to be missed! Enjoy these traditional Breton delicacies at one of our recommended crêperies with a bolée of cider (bowl-like cup).
8 . Soupe à l’oignon:
Onion soup in English; this soup is made with beef stock, onions (of course), bread and broiled cheese. A hearty meal to reenergize you after touring the city with one of our Detailed Guides. You can find it in almost any traditional French restaurant.
9 . Foie Gras:
Foie gras (fat liver) is part of the cultural and gastronomical patrimony of France; it is a true institution. It is especially present during the Holiday Season. Foie gras can be eaten raw, cooked or semi-cooked and can be served as a starter, entrée or as a garnish for another dish. For a good tasting experience, you can accompany it with figs, chutney and should be paired with either a moelleux (sweet) wine or champagne.
10 . Coq Au Vin:
Coq au vin, chicken braised in wine, brings together both France’s national emblem (the rooster) with one of the country’s most emblematic products (wine). The chicken is, as its name tells us, braised in wine with many vegetables and spices, accompanied usually with potatoes. A very French dish from start to finsh.
And a little more for your cravings…
As promised, here’s a list of many other delicious traditional French dishes:
Blanquette de Veau (Veal ragout), Pot au feu (beef and vegetable stew), Gratin Dauphinois (potatoe and cheese broil), Bouillabaisse (fish soup with potatoes), Escargots au beurre persillé (snails in parsley butter), cuisses de grenouilles (frog legs), Tartare de Bœuf (Beef tartar served with a raw egg yolk, salad and French fries), Moules frites (fried mussels), Choucroute (Sauerkraut) ,Hachis parmentier ( minced meat mixed with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven), Les huitres (oysters), Omelettes (typically originated here in France!), Croque-Monsieur (a grilled cheese and ham sandwich with béchamel sauce).
Keep this article handy for when you come to France, so you’ll know what the must-haves of French cuisine are! Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to share with any friends and family that may be planning a trip to France themselves.
Paris and its delicacies await…
Bon appétit and à bientôt (see you soon !)