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What to eat when in France – 17 Must Eats

The Sweet

1. Chocolatine or Pain au chocolat

It’s a regional debate, whether it’s pain au chocolat or chocolatine. They call it chocolatine in the south-west of France and basically pain au chocolat in the rest. 

But don’t you ever dare to call it chocolate croissant! Because croissant comes from crescent and the pain au chocolat is not in the shape of a half-moon. Calling the pain au chocolat, chocolate croissant grinds the gears of most french people. Except for those living in the part that is close to Germany. And since I’m German I allow myself to add the recommendation to try ‘regular’ croissant as well while you’re at it.

2. Madeleines

Fancy almond sponge cakes in shell form. I think that’s all I want to say about it.

3. Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin is a fruit pastry in which the fruit is caramelized before its baked. They are usually made with apples.

4. Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée is a rich custard dessert with a caramelized layer on top. 

Has anyone of you seen Emily in Paris? I just can’t see Crème brûlée anymore without thinking about the scene with the sad man crushing the caramelized layer for a little bit of happiness.

5. Mille-feuille

The mille-feuille (‘thousand sheets’) is traditionally made up of three layers of puff pastry alternating with two layers of either chocolate or vanilla cream. Delicious treat but difficult to eat!

6. Eclairs

Made with choux dough Similar to cream puffs but filled with cream instead of whipped cream and usually (chocolate) glazed. Reminds me of profiteroles. Which are filled with whipped cream on the other hand but also a french specialty. Btw Wikipedia says that profiteroles are just another name for cream puffs, but I only know them with a chocolate ganache. Mysterious

7. Macarons

Macarons are two layers of meringue usually filled with ganache, buttercream, or jam. 

Fun fact in Germany we call meringue ‘Baiser’ which can mean something completely different in French…

A little Tip: they sell it in supermarkets such as Carrefour, cheaper than specialty stores and still very good. Also, a very nice gift to bring from your trip especially if the person you want to bring a gift to does not drink wine.

The Classics

8. Bœuf bourguignon

Beef stew braised in red wine. Usually red Burgundy hence the name. Also originated from the Burgundy region of France. Also called beef Burgundy.

“Coq au Vin” by Will Clayton is licensed under CC BY 2.0

9. Coq au Vin

Another winey specialty is the Coq au vin. The name tells it all it’s chicken braised with wine. There are different variations from different regions based on the used wine. For example the vin jaune (Jura) and the coq au Riesling (Alsace).

“Ratatouille” by avlxyz is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

10. Ratatouille

Yes, that’s also the name of the Pixar movie and yes I always have to think about the rat when I think of Ratatouille. But in general, it’s a vegetable stew which originated in Nice.

11. Soupe à l'oignon

French onion soup. It seems that it is or at least was also pretty popular in the US.

Thinking of delicious onion dishes, try also the Tarte flambee / Flammkuchen if you get the chance. I won’t go into the discussion whether it’s a french or german dish. But it’s really good.

12. Quiches

It’s basically a savory French tart with various fillings. The most famous one is probably the Quiche Lorraine. Or should I say the modern version of it with mature cheese and bacon. Other popular variations are Quiches filled with cheese, mushrooms, spinach, or tomatoes.

13. Galettes bretonnes

The main difference between Galettes and Crêpes is that Galettes are usually made with buckwheat and Crêapes with wheat. Galettes are a regional dish from the Brittany region of France but became popular all over France.

Especially for the versions typically filled with ham, cheese, and eggs.

I also recommend trying Crêpes in all variations (sweet, savory) and other regional dishes if you get the chance. Such as raclette and cheese fondue (Savoie), Bouillabaisse(Provence) Salade niçoise (Nice).

14. French Cheese

Have a relaxing picnic with french cheese, baguette, and some vine.

The Unusual

Some unusual dishes you might have never heard of but want to try.

“Frogs Legs” by NwongPR is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

15. Cuisses de grenouille

The first time I heard that the French eat frogs and snails, I thought they were joking. But I actually tried the frog legs a few years back, tastes like chicken to me.

16. Andouillette

A coarse-grained sausage made with pork intestines (chitterlings).

17. Escargots à la Bourguignonne

Snails served in garlic butter. I’ve never tried it and honestly probably never will. Consistencies in food play a big role for me. 

I heard someone refer to it as mouth-feel. And I can very much relate to that.

But I also heard that garlic snails are very delicious, let me know if you tried them and if you liked them.

What are your favorite French dishes, snacks? Let me know in the comments below!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Gail

    You asked about snails and mentioned mouthfeel. Well, when cooked, they are about the same as cooked shrimp. They aren’t soft; they are delicious. There is one bistro/restaurant in France that has specialized in them for a couple of centuries and I suggest you go there for the first time 🙂

  2. Ronald Thompson

    You don’t know what you are missing by not having escargot they are beautiful it took my wife 30 years to try them now i will not go to a French restaurant that hasn’t got escargot on the menu
    Kind Regards
    Ron Thompson

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