France… renown for its fashion, its city of love, and of course, its cuisine. Planning a trip here? Foods you should try in France is here…
Having relocated myself to France almost a year ago, I had been asked by many friends on what kind of food they should try when they visit. Paris is a popular destination for many, yet, I think one has not truly visited Paris until one has savoured the French cuisine.
I am lucky that my French husband is also a food enthusiast, and he had introduced to me numerous French dishes. So in case you should find yourself spending a full day in France, here is an ‘itinerary’ of ideas for a day’s meals for your impending food tour.
Le petit déjeuner – Breakfast
One thing that I found out is that the French toast is not in fact French. My husband was bewildered when he saw this listed in a breakfast menu in my country. So, having cleared that up, here are some common breakfast items that you should look up for.
When in France, you will find boulangeries (bakeries) almost everywhere. So wherever you stay, make sure you scout out the bakeries so that you can just nip down to one to get your fresh out-of-the-oven breakfast pastries in the mornings.
Foods you should try in France? The croissants are a popular accompaniment to your morning coffee. But, there are more wonderful pastries you should try. Pain au chocolat is one of my favourites. It’s a pastry similar to that of a croissant, but with chocolate pieces/chips in between!
Another idea is to get the viennoise, either the plain ones or those with chocolates. I’m a huge fan of dark chocolates so I normally get the plain ones and add the dark chocolate pieces myself.
Le déjeuner – Lunch
Here are lunch ideas, foods you should try in France. I am a big fan of the great Britanny export, which is the Breton galettes and crêpes. For this, you’ll have to look out for a crêperie which is a popular lunch-ing place hence it is available in most towns in France.
You can find snack crepes at road-side food stalls or bakeries, where it is served as a sweet snack and you can have it with different fillings like butter and sugar, jam, chocolate sauce or nutella. But what I am suggesting is actually a full blown Breton meal where you get savoury galettes with salad on the side as your mains and dessert crepes after.
The standard fillings for a savoury galette is normally ham, cheese, and egg. If you’re adventurous enough, do try the galette with andouillette, a sausage made of pork intestines, pepper, wine, onions and sometimes pork tripe.
And when it comes to dessert crepes, some creperies can be quite creative and might have a wide selection to offer. One tip is to always take a look at the dessert of the day, which sometimes incorporates seasonal fruits which can turn your dessert into something refreshing to finish your meal with.
One very important accompaniment to all these foods is the Breton cider! It is not at all like the English cider. They are generally two types, the sweet or the bitter. If you’re up for trying both, pair the bitter with your mains and the sweet with your dessert!
Le dîner – Dinner
While I was attending a lecture on French gastronomie, I like how my lecturer described French cuisine. To the French, it is not just about the necessity of eating to survive when dining in France, it is in fact an art which you need to appreciate.
This is why the French chefs like to refer to themselves as artists. Their creation are not just for your taste buds, but for your eyes too.
So, if you are willing to indulge in using these two senses, you can try taking up a set menu consisting from 3 to 5 courses, or more if your appetite is big enough. For entrée, a typical French appetiser would be the escargots, snails… This is usually prepared with garlic, butter and parsley, and you get to use special tools to handle the snails!
Another popular entrée would be the foie gras, or fat liver (of goose or duck). It is normally served with toasts on top of which you place the foie gras before eating. A version that I really liked was where the toast is in fact a toasted piece of gingerbread, and the gingery flavour complemented the foie gras really well.
Boeuf bourguignon, or the Bourguignon beef is a very French main dish. It is made up of beef braised in red wine, normally served with potatoes and french beans. If you prefer something lighter, you should try the ratatouille. Its a traditional provençal vegetable dish, made famous by the animated film of the same name.
As for desserts, I can write pages after pages and still I can never finish describing all the wonderful desserts you can find in France. However, if you are a chocolate lover like me, you would definitely enjoy the profiteroles. It is a dessert made with pastry with vanilla ice-cream as its filling, poured over with hot chocolate sauce.
Another delicious chocolate dessert would be the opéra. It is a cake consisting of layers of almond sponge cake, dark chocolate and coffee buttercream. It’s rich… but it is well worth it!
If you’re a coffee and chocolate lover, THIS is not to be missed. The Opéra is a cake with layers of coffee-soaked almond sponge cake, layered with rich chocolate cream called ganache, and also coffee buttercream. They look delicious, and they taste heavenly!
So here are some of the popular typical French desserts that one should get to know, and of course, TRY, when one gets the chance!
Strange French Foods for the More Adventurous Foodie
Apart from its cheeses, great breads and wine, France, like any other country, has its own hidden ‘treasures’ that one might find strange yet appetising… Here’s some ideas for those adventurous foodie in you!
How about some Frogs legs? “Cuisse de grenouille” is another very French dish to try if you’re not queasy about hearing that you’re eating frogs legs.
So there you go, more dishes for you to explore if you’re feeling up to the challenge!
I hope these are good ideas for you to start your food journey in France. Happy fooding!
Do you have more suggestions about foods you should try in France?