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
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 examples of the most famous regional French dishes, some of which you may already be
familiar with; all of which you should try:
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!
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.
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.
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.
Morbiflette – there are a lot of similarities between Morbiflette, made with Morbier cheese, and tartiflette, but this is a speciality of Jura.
Bourride – white fish stew with vegetables and wine.
Brandade de morue – puréed salt cod.
Encornets farcis – cuttlefish stuffed with sausage meat and herbs.
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).
Aligot – mashed 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?
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.
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.
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.