France is a gastronomes delight, a paradise of puddings, patisserie and pain, and it’s hard to visit this part of the world without indulging at least once (a day) in some of the tasty local dishes.If you’re planning a trip to France, whether or not you know your Gruyère from your Grenouilles, be sure to make sure you try at least some of these delicious dining options whilst you’re there:
1. CrepesOk so we’ve all had a pancake, but the French version is an entirely different experience.Much thinner than the British pancake and available with an enormous range of fillings, from cheese and ham, to chocolate sauce and Chantilly cream, it can be difficult to resist including one in each of your three meals a day.You can find crepes all over France, but some of the best are undoubtedly in Paris.
2. Tartines Beurrées
We might have listed the croissant as the breakfast food of choice, but instead we’re going to draw your attention to the tartines beurrées.Essentially this is a halved baguette spread with French butter and jam – sounds simple enough but that light, crispy French bread, creamy butter and fruity jam, when enjoyed with a heart attack strong French coffee, is the ideal start to any day.
3. Salade de Carottes Râpées
It’s a carrot salad with a vinaigrette dressing that the French buy from a charcuterie for a snack or appetiser.It’s deceptively simple but you’ll find it utterly addictive (and much healthier than many of the alternatives).
It’s a fish stew and to some people that doesn’t sound like a particularly attractive prospect.However, in France this soupy dish is rich, fragrant and served with toasted bread and ‘rouille’ (a spicy garlicky spread) that makes it an altogether different animal from any fishy soup or stew you will have tasted before.
It’s impossible to choose between the fine, delicate, mouthwatering pastries that are prettily displayed in many bakery windows, so we’re just going to advocate that you try them all.Strawberry tarts, glazed tarte aux pommes, chocolate filled éclairs, custard filled mille-feuille or the humble macaroon, they are all a unique and memorable taste experience.
6. Tarte Tatin
If you’re going to try one desert in France then make it the tarte tatin.Essentially an upside down apple tart, the combination of the sharp apples, sweet caramel and the crisp pastry is quite heavenly – but be warned, once you’ve tried one they can become very addictive.
Pate is a vastly underestimated food and the French are really the only race who treat it with the reverence it deserves.Whether a rough Pâté de Campagne, or smooth chicken liver pate, when enjoyed with French bread, pickles and a glass of something sprightly it’s a perfect light lunch, appetiser or snack.
Cheeseor fromage is one of the exports for which the French have become the most famous, and rightly so. When you drive across France you’ll come across hugely varied local cheeses originating from different areas of the country- Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, Pont l’Evèque, Neufchâtel and Chevre are just some of the different types to try. Enjoy with a glass of something red and a soft baguette.
Most often found around the coastal areas, such as Normandy, moules – mussels – are one of the most indulgent treats of a visit to France. Moules à la Provençale, Moules marinières or Moules à la crème are probably the three most popular dishes – enjoy with thin, salty frites and some bread to mop up the juice.
Possibly the dish for which France is the most famous, you simply can’t visit this part of the world without having one.Even the cheapest of restaurant cuts comes salty, juicy and smothered in a delicious sauce, such as peppercorn or Béarnaise. But be warned: the French like their steaks bloody so only by asking for it ‘well done’ (which may result in a few raised eyebrows) will you succeed in getting a pink, rather than a raw, center. Ask for ‘medium rare’ and it will probably be still breathing.
These are just some of the wonderful culinary experiences that await a visitor to La France. The best way to enjoy the food here is to eat local, eat as you go, and eat as much as you want!