traditional and regional french dishes

bring the taste of france to your kitchen

Many dishes are thought of as part of French cuisine; some are universally accepted as part of the national identity, others are uniquely regional. Among the former is the iconic baguette, one of the most famous of breads available throughout France.

Other traditional French foods vary according to the region of France and will usually be a speciality of that area alone.



France is a large country and is divided into several regions from Nord-Pas-de-Calais in the north to Languedoc-Roussillon in the south. Not surprisingly, given the passion the French hold for their food, many foods are of strong regional importance, often influenced by their geographical location. Brittany, for example, has a well-documented Celtic history and its cuisine is influenced by the traditional fishing industry of the region. Alsace in the west, on the other hand, has a strong German influence – it was, for many years, a part of Germany. The region in the south-west of France borders with Spain and attracts many Spanish influences.


The joy of travelling around France is the opportunity it presents to try its regional dishes in particular, and you should never pass up the chance to do so. Just in the bread stakes alone you find not only the daily baguette, but its slimmer version, ficelle, or the flûte, fougasse and the stalwart pain de campagne, as well as many others that have evolved locally.

Desserts and pastries, too, vary regionally, and are a nightmare for anyone on a diet: crème brulée, crepes, croissants, Far Breton, pain perdu, Galette des Rois, Macarons, Madeleines, Mille-feuilles, mousse au chocolat, pain au chocolat – how cruel is that? putting chocolate into a buttery bread – soufflés and the well-known tarte tatin.


Here are a few more examples of traditional foods that you will find throughout France; some may have had regional roots, but today everyone claims them as their own.

Steak au Poivre

Coq au vin

Cassoulet

Crème Brulée

Galette des Rois 

Madeleines

Pot au Feu

Poulet au Pot

Tarte Tatin


Here are a few examples of the most famous regional French dishes, some of which you may already be familiar with; all of which you should try:

Alsace

Baeckeoffe – a filling dish of potatoes, onions, mutton, beef, pork Alsatian white wine and junipar berries

Choucroute garnie – Sauerkraut, which is white cabbage cooked in wine or vinegar and accompanied by local sausages, pork and potatoes. Very filling.

Coq au Reisling – the Alsatian variant on this popular dish.

Flammekueche – a tarte flambée.

Kouglof – A delicious yeast cake containing almonds and fruit and eaten with coffee.

Spatzle – a kind of soft egg noodle or dumpling served as a main ingredient in meat or fish dishes.

Tarte à l'Oignon – it does what it says on the tin, a tarte made with onions!

Burgundy

Bœuf Bourguignon – A casserole of beef stewed in wine – preferably a good red wine of the region.

Coq au vin – this is where it started...chicken braised in red wine with lardons and mushrooms.

Escargots de Bourgogne – This is the famous dish of little French snails cooked in their shells with a parsley butter.

Brittany

Buckwheat Pancakes – From the Loire and Brittany regions of France. Also known as 'galettes' and filled with meats, cheese, ham or vegetables.

Crêpes – Delicious little pancakes that can be found throughout Brittany. Often filled with a sweet filling, but also with a savoury filling such as cheese and ham.

Far Breton – A French dessert, which is a flan made with prunes.

Poulet à la Bretonne (Chicken cooked in Brittany cider) – cooked gently with beans and bacon.

Centre

Andouillettes – This is a sausage dish which you either love or you hate as it has a distinct smell and flavour.

Rillettes – a thick but spreadable paste made from braised pork.

Franche-Comté

Morbiflette – there are a lot of similarities between Morbiflette, made with Morbier cheese, and tartiflette, but this is a speciality of Jura.

Languedoc-Roussillon

Bourride – white fish stew with vegetables and wine.

Brandade de morue – puréed salt cod.

Encornets farcis – cuttlefish stuffed with sausage meat and herbs.

Lorraine

Macarons de Nancy – who doesn't like a sweet macaroon?

Madeleines – naughty but nice.

Quiche Lorraine – the famous and worldly popular staple.

Rum Baba (Baba au Rhum) – a small yeast cake saturated in rum and sometimes filled with whipped cream. 

Tarte à la Mirabelle – delicious tart made with plums, also made with damsons (Tarte aux quetsche).

Midi-Pyrenées

Aligotmashed potatoes blended with Tomme cheese.

Cassoulet – hearty winter dish made with beans, Toulouse sausages and confit de canard.

Truffade – potatoes sautéed with garlic and fresh Tomme cheese.

Nord-Pas de Calais

Moules-Frites – mussels and chips; what could be simpler?

Normandy

Moules à la Crème Normande – mussels cooked with white wine, cider, garlic and cream

Tarte Normande – A very famous Normandy apple tart made with wonderful Normandy apples.

Tripe à la mode de Caen – tripe cooked in cider and Calvados.

Provence-Alpes-Cȏte d'Azur

Bouillabaisse – A dish made famous by the fishermen of the region. It is made with a variety of fish from the mediterranean and also includes tomatoes and herbs.

Pan Bagnat – The healthiest French fast food, often eaten when playing a game of French boules or pétanque. Great for a picnic.

Pissaladiêre – A dish very much like a pizza sometimes made with a pizza type bread and sometimes a pâte brisée and covered with a topping of onions, garlic, anchovies and black olives.

Ratatouille – A dish of Mediterranean vegetables such as aubergines, courgettes, peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic. A very colourful and tasty dish that can be eaten hot or cold.

Salade Niçoise – A colourful salad made with a variety of local ingredients, which might include tuna and black olives.

Tapenade – purée of olives, anchovies, capers and olive oil.

Rhȏne Alpes

Raclette – This is a dish of melted cheese usually served with small potatoes, sometimes gherkins or pickles and ham and beef.

Fondue Savoyarde – A tasty cheese dip made with cheese and white wine into which you dip pieces of French bread.

Gratin Dauphinois – oven-baked dish of potatoes and crème fraiche. If you use cheese, such as Gruyère or Comté, then this becomes, technically, Gratin Savoyarde, every bit as nice.

Soupe à l'Oignon – onion soup based on meat stock and served with cheese and a chunk of baguette.

Tartiflette – a delicious and filling dish of potatoes and lardons with Reblochon cheese.

South West France

Foie Gras – Foie Gras is a French delicacy and is made from the liver of a goose or duck which has been fattened especially to produce this classic and well-known French food.