Is there anything better than combining food with travel? I don’t know about you, but a destination may call my name simply based on the cuisine they offer. Have you ever seen a picture of a dish and thought “Oh my goodness, I must try this!?” Yeah, me too. The number one destination that comes to mind when thinking of incredible food is France. Known for their many Michelin star restaurants, French cooking is considered to be the most prestigious and respectable cuisine in the world! If you happen to be taking a trip there in the near future, here are some must try dishes in France, for all budgets and palates!
This is a dish I’m sure we’ve all heard of. This is essentially a hearty stew, with loads of veggies, herbs, bacon, red wine and you guessed it, beef. Boeuf Bourguignon is warm, cozy and full of rich flavour. What sets this dish apart from other beef stews is the fact that it’s made in a Dutch oven and sits for several hours for the beef to become pull-apart tender. While this is considered a comforting winter meal, the ingredients can be found year-round and is a repeat dish in many French households!
This is an absolute staple in all French bistros! Served with fries, this is one of the most popular dishes in any region of France. Of course, raw meat isn’t to everyone’s liking — and be warned, it isn’t always beef tartare on the menu! Horse tartare is also fairly common, as the French consider it an extremely valuable source of protein. The French way of having this dish is with a raw egg on top, which you can delicately mash in with your fork. While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I recommend going on a tartare tour of France to find the best one!
This is potentially my favourite side-dish of all time! Very similar to scalloped potatoes, gratin dauphinois is originally a winter dish from the Grenoble region of France. In its most traditional sense, gratin dauphinois is made of thinly sliced potatoes, crème fraîche, milk and nutmeg. Then, it is baked in the oven to form a kind of potato “casserole”. Many recipes have added cheese to the mix (a welcome addition if you ask me!), and you can actually find many variations of this dish since it has been so popularized throughout the country.
It seems this list is becoming “the Richest Dishes to Try in France”, but you simply cannot make a list of must-try recipes without including the comforting cassoulet! This dish originates from Castelnaudary, in the region of Languedoc in the South of France. It supposedly dates back to the Hundred Years’ War and remains famous to this day. Cassoulet is composed of white beans, duck thighs and various cuts of pork, such as sausage or bacon. It also contains carrots and onions, but the dominating ingredients are definitely meat. I wouldn’t recommend having this for lunch, otherwise you may not make it to the Louvre in the afternoon!
To finish off this list, I just had to include something sweet. Tarte tatin is essentially an upside-down apple pie. However, in my humble opinion, there are two factors that set this apart from regular apple pie: 1) the sliced apples are arranged in such a way that the pie is a true work of art. And 2) the apples are caramelized in butter and sugar before baking, giving the pie its iconic amber colour and depth of flavour.
Funny enough, this outstanding dessert was actually invented entirely by accident! The Tatin sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline, ran a hotel on the banks of the Sologne River in the 19th century— one day, Stéphanie forgot she was cooking on the stovetop and ended up slightly burning them. Not wanting to waste the apples, she topped them with pâte brisée (pieces of pie crust) and hoped for the best. Little did she know that her moment of panic would lead to one of the most iconic French desserts of all time!
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Written by: Sacha Vincent-Toskin