When we think about the highest quality of food, especially dishes that boast a level of sophistication and exquisite taste, we are often led towards the food of France. The culinary genius that French chefs, bakers, cheesemakers, and vintners exude is paralleled by very few across the globe. Yet while we may associate French dining with the upper echelons of celebrity and aristocracy, you don’t need to visit only a five Michelin star restaurant to experience divine, richly flavored French cuisine. Typical French food is perfectly accessible and is generally enjoyed by everyone across the country and the world, no matter their status. In fact, many typical French dishes originate from the humble farmlands and villages of rural France and demonstrate exceptional use of ingredients and flavors that the French are so renowned for.
The Cheese Of France
Further showcasing the modest origins of some of the planet’s best foods, is French cheese. This is said to have been perfected by monks residing in French monasteries over countless years, after the Romans introduced it to the area. The trial and error that these monks used to create new variations of cheeses are the reason we have so many different types throughout France, let alone the world.
To name but a few, discover the brousse and its subtle rosemary flavour originating from the goat’s diet and benefiting from a protected designation of origin label. Try the Cervelle de Canut or "claqueret", a whipped white cheese flavoured in thousands of ways: olive oil, chives, parsley, garlic… and, for gourmands, an extra topping of fresh cream. Or for a light snack enjoy the bouton de culotte, literally the trouser button, another delicious goat's milk cheese with peppery flavours, whose specificity is to be one of the smallest cheeses in France with its 4 cm in diameter.
Today, you can visit wine and cheese workshops to learn all about the process of this exceptional yet typical French food, alongside their perfect wine pairings. You can also check out courses on the Pastoral of Regagnas to discover the region’s unique agriculture.
French Cakes, Pastries, And Desserts
As well as cheese and wine, the French are incredibly well-known for their work with pastry to create both savory and sweet treats. Delectable eclairs, croissants and pain au chocolat are found in every bakery across the planet, not to mention the iconic baguette and other wonderful French bread, showing just how influential French baking is. Carefully crafted macarons, meringues and souffles, take the top spot for requiring a deft hand and expertise, yet these are no less iconic to the world of French cuisine. There are also great varieties across the country, with southern French cuisine boasting specialities.
Regions And Their Specialties
When it comes to the many specific regions of France, there is so much variety of typical French food available to try, and therefore highlighting them all would be an incredibly monumental task. To give you just a slight taste of what is available when browsing the many typical French dishes on offer, we’ve put together a few examples to show how these foods vary from place to place. We will specifically be shining a light on three regions in the East and South-East of France, stretching from Dijon to Marseille via Lyon and Nîmes. There are numerous different experiences to be had throughout these areas via La Vallée de la Gastronomie – France ®. Whether you’re searching for cooking workshops or a romantic fine-dining experience, there’s something for everyone.
This region of France is relatively new in that it is comprised of Burgundy and Franche-Comté, both of which unified after the 2016 elections. While Bourgogne-Franche-Comté may be new, the history of these two areas is incredibly rich and bursting with culture. Probably one of the most notable foods from Burgundy is the Boeuf Bourguignon, literally translated to “Beef Burgundy”. This thick beef casserole is filled with onions, mushrooms, red wine, and herbs and can be cooked with even the cheapest cuts of beef. The time it takes to cook will turn any old bit of beef into a tender and flavorsome delight. It’s perfect for those cold wintery evenings and is easily seen as a typical French food, although variations of it have been adopted by countless cultures due to its simplicity yet wholly satisfying taste.
This area which was also created in 2016, after Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes joined together, is home to some of France’s most iconic and intriguing dishes. Typical French food such as Lyonnaise potatoes and Fish Quenelles from the city of Lyon, should all be top considerations when searching for some authentic French cuisine. This region of France is by far one of the most stunning on the continent, with sprawling greenery as well as the gorgeous French Alps Mountain range. Visiting this area is perfect for those searching for an exceptionally authentic experience and shouldn’t be passed up lightly.
A venture to the regions of the idyllic Mediterranean coastline brings with it a hugely contrasting cuisine compared to the rest of the country. The Southern French cuisine of cities like Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, as well as popular exciting towns like Arles and Nîmes, is entirely influenced by the shared culture of other coastal Mediterranean countries. Fresh seafood from the bountiful waters along with exquisite imports of olives and capers make for some very salty and wholesome delights. The Mediterranean diet is one that is championed as possibly the healthiest in the world, and many of these dishes are laden with oily fish as well as healthy fruits and vegetables, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and other illnesses. While there are heavy Mediterranean influences in these dishes, there is plenty of typical French food that is added to maintain that authentic French twist to each one, often using those iconic French cheeses.
Stereotypical French Dishes
There are those that, when French cuisine is mentioned, will instantly cast their minds towards snails and frogs’ legs. However, while some may find this to be an entertaining thought, these are seen as hugely iconic and authentic dishes. While they may not be to everyone’s taste, escargot cooked in rich, creamy butter, garlic and parsley is regarded as one of the best delicacies France has to offer. Many restaurants such as Chez La Mère Bouvier also offer typical French food as well as dishes such as cuisses de Grenouille, or frogs’ legs. These are also very popular among the French populace and are also eaten in other countries across the world, including neighboring Spain, as well as Asia, and even some southern states in the USA.