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Sunday, December 23, 2012

France - Traditional French Foods

French cuisine is popular for its delicious, diversified and world-wide known cuisine. Traditional French foods range from delectable cheeses and desserts to hearty soups, stews, and fresh fish. One of the great things about French traditional food is the fact that each region has its own specialties that are traditional and unique to that area. These French traditional food items are based off the available items within that particular region. In this writing, we only give you some general ideas of the most popular traditional French foods. Look for the regional favorites while visiting France if you want to taste the best of the region.


Escargot (Photo: myboringoldlife blog)
Most people unfamiliar with French cooking are quick to turn up their collective noses at this dish.  Perhaps the most widely know of the traditional French dishes, escargot is a delicacy made from snails.  Served as an appetizer, escargot is usually prepared in a garlic butter sauce.  The snails themselves are first removed from the shell, cleaned, and then placed back inside the snail shell after preparation.  Escargot generally come served with an herb butter sauce for dipping.  This traditional French dish even has its own utensil; escargot comes to the table with special tongs designed for holding the shell.


Bouillabaisse from the Restaurant du Port, Le Grau du Roi, Marseille
Bouillabaisse is a French fish soup that is a specialty of the region of Provence and is one of the most familiar of the traditional French dishes. Three kinds of fish usually go into this traditional French dish, including scorpion fish, conger and monkfish.  Cooked with special herbs like saffron and garlic, as well as orange zest, bay leaf, and fennel.  Leeks, tomatoes, celery, and onions simmer together with the fish and spices.  Bouillabaisse is served with crusty French bread topped by rouille, a mayonnaise made with olive oil, cayenne, garlic and saffron.

Pumpkin Soup

Soupe au potiron (Photo: Cityfoodsters)
In the center of France, soupe au potiron is a favorite. In the fall, when pumpkins and potatos are harvested, this soup is featured on many traditional tables. The main ingredients are mixed with cream and topped with croutons or served with a freshly-baked baguette.

Chestnut Soup

Soupe aux chataignes (Photo: dandyman blog)
Another seasonal favorite is soupe aux chataignes. Locally-grown chestnuts are mixed with potatos, leeks, and turnips to make a hearty, and yet sweet, winter soup. While this French soup is more difficult to make because finding fresh chestnuts and peeling them can be tricky, it is a great recipe to try for a special occasion.

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin (DB Bistro Moderne)
Literally “chicken and wine”, this dish is a combination of braised  rooster served in a special wine sauce.  Coq au vin, like many traditional French dishes, varies slightly by region.  Wine sauce preparation depends upon the area, though a burgundy is the most common choice.  After the chicken marinates in the wine one day before, it is seared in a hot pan.  Small mushrooms, onions, garlic, butter and salt pork (bacon) are added to the chicken and allowed to simmer.  As the sauce thickens, salt, pepper, thyme and other savory herbs are added to the pot.


Cassoulet (Photo: Xoom Blog)
A traditional southwestern bean recipe, cassoulet is a perfect winter meal. It has lots of meat in it, but the meat is cut up into the bean dish and simmered. While this taste is not for everyone, it's a truly traditional meal hailing from France. Serve with bread on the side.


Moules frites (Photo by N. Galuten)
Mussels are a common seafood served in France. Most often cooked in garlic, the mussels take on a spicy flavor; paired with French fries in most restaurants, this dish is a favorite of French cuisine in many countries of Europe.


Tartiflette (Photo: Ricado Cuisine)
Tartiflette is a French dish from the Haute Savoie region of France. It is made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions. A popular variation of this dish is to substitute the lardons with smoked salmon. While this dish features potatos and cheese, it is rich enough to become a main course on most tables. A traditional meal in the Alps, this dish is heavy and warms the body from the inside-out with its soft potatoes layered in creamy melted cheese.


Bouillinade de poissons (Photo: moicatalane)
Potatoes and fish baked together with butter and herbs makes for a fresh potato alternative. Typically southern, the herbs mixed here (saffron, parsley, cayenne) are a new combination for many non-Mediterranean palates. 


Crèpes (G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times)
A standout favorite among traditional French dishes, crèpes can be served either as a dessert or a savory dish.  Crèpes are made from a very thin batter of eggs, flour and milk.  The crèpe is allowed to cook in a skillet for about a minute, flipped to cook for another minute, and then removed.  The result is a paper thin shell that can be stuffed with fruits and cream.  Some recipes call for a potato batter and are generally served with savory fillings.


tourareas said...

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Ed said...

Looks like some great french food there. Thanks for the post!


Thanks Ed.

jim smith said...

Hmmm i love fishes!
Restaurant La Verne

teach french said...

Your blog about French food is splendid. I have search online to get traditional French food and found this outstanding website. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I have tried many French recipes which i got from youtube and many other website. I like visiting French restaurants in weekend.

Tiffany said...

@teach french hope you'll have some good time at French restaurants

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delicious and yummy

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Anonymous said...

Thank you! I had no idea what to look for with the menu I am making for my French class!

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Thanks it helped my project

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