Whether you’re after the warm sea, temperate valleys or snowy mountains, you will definitely find the perfect place to spend your vacation in France. With stunning art and world-famous culture, France is one of the most frequent tourist destinations in Europe. The Louvre alone receives 10 million visitors a year. And if you’re more of a quiet countryside type of person, the beautiful villages of France will provide you a refuge from crowds. However, one of the most crucial elements of French culture is its unique cuisine, famously filled with cheese and wine. France even has the Pope of Gastronomy! To give you a better grasp of the varied French cuisine, we have prepared for you a list of Top 10 Things About the France Culture Foods Edition, where we list the best 10 things to stuff your mouth with while on a trip to France.
Just imagine this gorgeous, traditional French soup made primarily out of onions and coated with melted cheese on top, served with delicious croutons. While this famous dish’s history began as a meal of the poor, back in the Roman times, nowadays it is served in some of the most luxurious French restaurants. The ingredient that makes the French onion soup so special among France culture foods is, as you may have guessed it already, caramelized onion. Sometimes, sherry or brandy is added during the caramelization process to add flavor. All of that is drowned in thick beef stock, and some recipes further add water, milk, or even eggs or flour. The ingredients together create a delicious experience, which is best enjoyed with hot cheese and some croutons on the side.
When it comes to foie gras, people either love it or they hate it. Foie gras is made out of the liver of either a duck or a goose. Moreover, French law specifically requires you to use the liver of a duck or goose that was previously fattened with corn through a feeding tube in order to call your product foie gras. The liver is then either prepared whole or served in the form of a mousse or a parfait. Foie gras is also often served with other meat, primarily steak. The recipe for foie gras comes from the ancient Egyptians, who around 2500 BC pioneered the process of force-feeding birds. Such an ancient history of the food item is even protected by the French law, which calls it “protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France”. However, the production process has risen much controversy due to its cruelty, and some countries even introduced laws against producing and importing foie gras.
Made primarily with baked white beans and various types of meat, Cassoulet is an amazing comfort meal originating from the south of France. Similarly to the famous onion soup, cassoulet began as the main source of sustenance for French farmers. The dish is extremely easy to make and requires only a handful of ingredients to prepare. When choosing meat, it is best to pick either pork or duck, but many French chefs actually use goose, mutton, or even sausages. To add some flavors, chefs most usually add fresh tomatoes, chopped garlic, onions, some herbs, and stock. Finally, as a cherry on top, bread crumbs are mixed with goose fat to make a crust on the surface of the cassoulet. The name of the traditional dish comes from the cassole - a pottery bowl, glazed on the inside, in which the dish is usually served.
If you have a sweet tooth, macarons are the perfect afternoon snack to chew on. If you are familiar with what an Oreo looks like, you can imagine pretty well what a macaron looks like - two delicious cookies sandwiched together with filling in between. The cookies are usually soft and chewy on the inside, with a crispy shell on the outside. As delicious as macarons are, they are actually very simple to make and require few ingredients. All you need is some egg whites and peanuts! You can make the filling out of pretty much everything, but it is usually made out of chocolate, caramel or jam. On your trip to France, you will be able to spot macarons almost everywhere - from artisan bakeries to vending machines at metro stations. We recommend trying macarons at a good bakery, such as Stohrer in Paris, which serves some of the best macarons the city has to offer!
Widely popular in many different countries, quiche is actually a staple between the France culture foods. If you don’t know what a quiche looks like, it resembles a pie, made out of savory dough and filled with a custard made out of eggs, cream, and cheese. Next, pieces of cheese, various types of meat or seafood, and vegetables are added at will, depending on the region of France you may be in. The most popular type of quiche is the quiche Lorraine, to which usually bacon and cheese are added. Quiche Lorraine is also the first quiche to ever be made, recorded first in 1605. And you know what the best thing about quiche is? It can be served both hot and cold alike, while still staying tasty and delicious in both forms!
More commonly known outside of France as mussels, moules are yet another traditional French food which you simply must try on your next visit to France if you have not already! The origins of this high-class food actually trace back to Belgium, but the French people have adapted it and made it one of the most recognizable items of their cuisine. The mussels are usually cooked in a broth consisting of beer or white wine, parsley, shallots, and some butter. Though this is the most common recipe, there is actually a huge variety when it comes to the preparation of mussels. Some regions of France prefer to steam the mussels with celery and leeks, while some thicken it with heavy cream and flour. Some even eat the raw mussels adorned with lemon sauce and eaten right of the shell of the mussel. To finish it off, moules are most often served with french fries.
Directly translated as "rooster with wine" coq au vin is a dish made out of various pieces of chicken, most often still attached to the bone and braised. Like some of the other famous French cuisine items, coq au vin dates back to the Roman invasion of Gaul by none other than Julius Caesar. Supposedly, the chief of the tribe Arverne sent a rooster to the besieging Romans to mock them. In return, Caesar himself is said to have invited the chief to dinner, on which that very chicken was served, cooked in wine. While traditionally and historically the dish uses specifically a rooster, regular chicken meat is also very frequently used, mostly out of convenience. If you want to taste a true coq au vin, we recommend trying out Auberge Bressane in Paris on your next visit!
Called Ile flottante by the French, the floating island is a very popular dessert in French cuisine. The main recipe of the floating island is meringue, which is a candy made out of whipped egg whites and sugar. These meringues are then put on top of a pool of creme anglaise, or what is better called as vanilla custard. The cream is made out of hot milk mixed with egg yolks and some sugar, flavored often with vanilla. This dessert will only take you a couple of minutes to make while tasting amazing, as even the locals consider it as the best possible comfort food. While you may not have heard of the floating island in the United States, it is actually a common desert in Europe, mainly in Austria, Italy, Croatia, and Hungary.
This extremely simple dish is sure to be familiar to most countries outside of France - an ordinary beef steak served with some deep-fried potato. The famous dish has been now adapted almost world-wide, but its origins can actually be traced back to France and Belgium, and it is one of the main dishes of both the countries’ cuisines. While you can surely find a steak with french fries pretty much anywhere in the world, we recommend trying the original French recipe. As with many French foods, Steak-Frites comes in a wide variety of types and styles, as some regions use different sauces, cut meat from a different part of the cow, or season their steaks with different ingredients.
Last on our list is the food that is pretty much everyone’s first thought when they hear about French cuisine - cooked snails, a popular French appetizer. The snails are removed from their shells and cleaned, after which they are cooked for several minutes with garlic butter, wine, or chicken stock. When fully cooked, the snails are most usually placed back into their shells and adorned with butter and fresh sauce. The dish is also most often served with a freshly baked baguette. Don’t be surprised when you see a strange device next to your escargots plate - it is actually a special kind of tongs, used specifically for holding the shell of the snail as you pick out the meat with tiny forks.