Foods in France
Food is an integral part of French culture, and it is necessary to taste as much of it as possible during your stay in France. French chefs make their food with the freshest ingredients and as much care as possible, and many of their specialties cannot be found in other countries. The common foods in France vary from region to region. Along the coast, seafood is widely used, while in the north dairy is used for every meal, and in the south, herbs and tomatoes are common in dishes. It is important to have an open mind and explore all the flavors your possibly can.
Bread and Pastries
Baguettes are available on every street corner and store in France, and are usually incorporated into every meal. They are thin, crusty and served fresh and warm either as a sandwich bread or with butter and jam.
Croissants are also common; they are a staple of the French diet. They are soft, flaky, buttery and can be served with dozens of toppings. One of the most common is a French pastry called a pain du chocolat. This is a croissant filled with dark chocolate that is slightly melted, and is a favorite among children.
Escargot and Cuisses de Grenouilles
Escargot and cuisses de grenouilles are two separate dishes that many people shy away from. Escargot is the French name for snails that are in the shells and sauteed with garlic, butter, parsley and sometimes cream. When properly prepared, escargot is tender and delicious. Cuisses de grenouilles is the French name for frog legs. These small pieces of meat are prepared various ways, from baking to frying, and are tender, a little salty and a real French delicacy.
A croque-monsieur is a French sandwich that many eat for lunch, but it is made with a croissant. Usually it is ham and melted cheese served open-faced. There are also other croissant sandwiches that are served with an egg on top or with nutella (a hazelnut spread of peanut butter consistency) and bananas.
France is well-known for being obsessed with cheeses. Common French cheeses are Brie, Gruyere, Roquefort, Camembert and other selections of goat cheese. Usually at restaurants you will be brought a plate with several cheeses that you should taste with wine. Cheese courses are a big production in France.
Bouillabaisse is a thick fish stew that is filling enough to be a meal. Along the coast of France, this is something you must try. Bouillabaisse is served with warm baguette slices, a peppery broth and different types of fish or seafood. You eat it by spreading the broth on the bread, then dipping it into the stew.
Foie gras is well-known in other countries as a expensive delicacy. It is made from goose liver pate and whipped up until it's creamy. It is usually served on crackers, or else with three to four other staples such as fruit slices, peppers or soft bread. It is definitely an acquired taste, but is a common French delicacy.
Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.