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Favorite French Foods

Everyone seemed to like the Yummy German food thread, so how about telling us what you like to eat in France. Honestly, I am sitting here trying to think of something French to eat and all I can come up with are Croissant, Escargot, and Crepes or perhaps some sauce Hollandaise, or sauce Bearnaise. For all those folks who are planning trips there and want to eat some delicious foods, share your favorites with us!

Posted by
2000 posts

My favorites:
French onion soup,
Duck confit,
fresh croissants,
cafe creme,

salad Nicoise,
creme brulee,
various sweet & savory crepes,
cassoulet,
and Bertillon ice cream.

Posted by
5 posts

Chevre Chaud

Hot melted goat cheese on toast, served on a green salad. PERFECT meal, lunch or dinner.

Posted by
23 posts

Jo, what could be any better than a crepe with Nutella and banana? My mouth waters just thinking about it!

Posted by
390 posts

Oooh food, my favorite topic! Every time I'm in Paris I make it a point to get at least one crepe a day - (jambon et fromage for lunch, nutella, or the simple sugar and lemon) and never miss grabbing at least one baguette sandwich from Gosselin. I've never had a pastry I didn't like, but my Paris favorites are pain aux raisin. Next trip to Paris my goal is to cover each one on this list: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/08/10_insanely_del.html

As for the rest of France - Burgundy cuisine is tops. Escargot in garlic butter, Boeuf Bourguignon, wine, wine, wine. I'm heading to the Dordogne region next trip - excited for some Duck Confit, and maybe even some foie gras - we'll see how brave I'm feeling.

Posted by
10276 posts

French Fries, French Onion Soup, French Toast, French Dip, French's Mustard, French Vanilla Ice Cream....

Seriously.....Bouillabasse, Cassoulet, Croque Monsieur, Baguette avec jambon et frommage, Pate de Fois Gras, pomme frites (see above), cafe creme.

Posted by
8293 posts

Moules frites at Leon de Bruxelles and a nice cold Stella Artois. I can get the same thing here at home but it's SO SO much better in Paris !

Posted by
521 posts

Bread in any size, shape and texture. Amazing bread. French food is by far the best I have ever ever had. It has been said, but it bares repeating because it is unlike anything I can get in the states - croissants and crepes. Though Madison has made some great improvements in the last year. In addition to that - the croque monssiere. In Avignon, I had Monk Fish and Risotto. Maybe the best meal I have had in my life! The salad nicoise.
OH OH OH and the cheese!!! I don't know what we had, but it was all amazing cheese. One thing that I didn't love though and it surprised me - was the coffee. Did anyone else think that? It was just "eh". I thought I would love it - you know, French Roast and all, but it was nothing special. When we got down to Nice and there was the Italian influence - then the coffee got good. But in Paris, not so much.

Posted by
811 posts

Although our French travel has thus far been limited to Paris, one thing we found (and ate plenty of) were those French macaroon sandwich cookies. While they aren't technically "a meal," I do recall a few times at lunch where the cookie was my primary food group...

Posted by
121 posts

Thanks Jo for starting this thread - great memories! I love the soupe de poisson with big chunks of halibut or monkfish and of course lot's of bread.

Posted by
3551 posts

French pastries, french bakery items and do not forget the beverages. Kir, traditional burgundian cocktail or Cream de cassis(blackberry) with Chablis wine. Refreshing espec for summer.

Posted by
386 posts

Everything everyone has mentioned so far,
plus:
Daubes, those heavenly French stews!
Perfect comfort foods, especially during the cold seasons.
Served with crispy Baguette and a glass of wine - hmmmm :-))
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daube

Posted by
7979 posts

Oh yes, the coffee. My husband and I think the coffee in France is horrid. The only place worse is Belgium. We have been there 6-7 times. We seriously cannot figure out what they do to it to make it so bad, but we have not had a good cup of coffee in either country, except for Hotel de Sainte Croix in Bayeux. Our hostess did know how to make a good pot. Whew, I am glad that is finally out. I was afraid to say anything. Italy, Denmark, Austria and Germany though, have wonderful coffee. (haven't been to Switzerland yet)

Posted by
11450 posts

Ohhh , I love this thread. I adore french food. I love the bread, and have NEVER found anything like it in North America , ever.

The cheese, I love the cheeses,, I love sitting with a cheese plate, some bread and some wine.. the memories.

The mussels, hey Normas right, we have mussels here, and they are good, but everything tastes better in Paris, and of course the bread for dipping is better in Paris as noted above.

The duck, the French know how to do duck.. mouth watering.

Pates, love em, especially the rabbit and duck ones.

Creme Brulees, my fave dessert, had one at La Coupole last time that was still slightly warm inside and soooo creammy..

Hollandaise on anything, I love butter , I love fats, I do not diet in Paris.

Crepes, as noted in others posts, at least one a day.
Baguettes and jambon, such a simple food, but once again the superior bread, and ham, create heaven together.

My only complaint is I do not like rare meat, I prefer medium, but , in SOME places they only do rare( which to them is correct) or burnt( hey you wanted it well cooked didn't you so shut up) ,, LOL

Oh, yes, I love the hot chocolate ,, made with milk instead of powder and water like some places here.

Posted by
875 posts

White asparagus, escargots, and pate de fois gras.

I was very disappointed this year in the moules frites at Leon's as they have apparently stopped using the wonderful Le Crueset cast iron cookware that keeps the mussels and broth steaming hot. This year they were using some type of synthetic substitute that just didn't hold in the heat. Lukewarm mussels are not very good.

Posted by
521 posts

JO, LOL! I thought maybe I was the only one or just had a run of bad luck with the coffee. France does everthing culinary to the peak of perfection - how did they miss the coffee? Esp with Italy as their next door neighbor? Again, south of France is a different story. There you start to see the creme on the coffee (I think that's what its called..the light brown goodness at the edges of the thick rich coffee).

Posted by
576 posts

In September, on our 4th visit to Paris, we had the best meal EVER, trying something we had not yet experienced: Basque cuisine. It was indescribably good. The restaurant, which many reviewers consider the best budget restaurant in Paris, was very friendly, both hip and traditional at the same time. If you get the chance, try Chez Gladines. Here's a review:

http://goparis.about.com/od/parisrestaurantreviews/fr/Chez_Gladines.htm

The first thing I did when got home was to buy a Basque cookbook!

Posted by
950 posts

I am salivating reading through this thread!

It's cold, rainy season here and that means comfort food: coque au vin. Sounds intimidating to make, but quite simple and worth the effort.

Posted by
220 posts

Epoisses cheese, pate de fois gras and ile flotant

Posted by
194 posts

I had read so much about the falafel at L'as du Falafel. Having never had a falafel and being in the Marais at lunchtime, we took the opportunity to try one. We were not disappointed! I could have gone back more than once; it was that good. Also had excellent onion soup at Cafe le Bousquet and wonderful escargot at the Piqu' Boeuf in Beaune and a tiny restaurant (can't remember the name) in Semur-en-Auxois. Not to mention all the chocolat chaud, pastries, etc. Yum! We would often find ourselves in out of the way locations in the Burgundy region around the lunch hour. Not wanting to stop for a 2+ hour lunch, we would ask at tiny local bars if we could have "baguette et jambon et fromage avec beurre" and we'd have this wonderful sandwich to go. Obviously our French leaves a LOT to be desired, but we were always understood and we didn't go hungry. The baguette was always fresh and everything tastes great with French butter!

Posted by
2297 posts

Well, I cheat a little bit because my favourite foods are from Brittany since I've lived there for a year. And Brittany is not "really" French if you ask the Bretons ...

My favourite meal was the one we had every Wednesday night while I lived as an Au-Pair in Rennes. The mother was a teacher and had Wednesdays off and time to go to the market. Everything was absolutely fresh those nights! We had a huge bowl of "crevettes" (large shrimp), artichokes with home-made mayonnaise, and Far Breton for dessert.

http://www.frenchentree.com/france-brittany-restaurants-shops/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=5248

Very typical for Brittany "galettes", the original crepes made with buckwheat (it was a long time till normal people could afford white flour). My favourite filling it goat cheese.

And talking about cheese, there are few French cheeses that don't make it onto my favourites list.

What else? Let's see:

  • croissants, pain au chocolat or maybe brioche (but otherwise the best bread is made in German bakeries)

  • lobster bisque

  • quiche Lorraine

  • coq au vin

  • creme brulee

  • lobster bisque

I'm glad someone else here mentioned already Kir. I love it with Chablis or with Champagne (Kir Royale). But the question of your favourite French drink (wine!) deserves its own thread ;-)

Posted by
7979 posts

Hey Char, just wanted to make sure that you knew that falafel was not French. It is middle eastern and you can get them everywhere. They are balls made out of ground chick peas and then deep fried. I love them! They have them here at every Döner Kepab stand. Stuffed into fresh bread, with a nice sauce they are delicious. Just not French.

Posted by
2297 posts

Unfortunately, I don't know how to make those cherries. And in this part of Canada we can't even grow cherries. But my hometown in Germany has an official partnership with a small town in Brittany: Plerguer. And this town is famous for their cherries and annual cherry festival. You even find cherries on their coat of armes. Our host family has always offered us their home-made Calvados cherries. I'm pretty sure the Calvados was home-made as well and not that "weak" store bought stuff.

This winter I'm preserving fruit in rum for the first time which is a popular German tradition: Rumtopf. I really hope it works out since I couldn't find any rum with above 50% alcohol content (or the fruit will spoil). So I used Bacardi and spiked it with some Polish alcohol I know nothing about other than it's 98% alcohol.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumtopf

But maybe next summer I contact my French friends and try out those drunken cherries :-)

Posted by
11450 posts

Falafel are very popular here too, we get them at Greek places,, loaded with tzaki,, which is the actual magic ingredient!!

On that note, the one thing I have not had luck with in Paris is ethnic food, specifcally anything Asian, I mean , we have had some BAD Chinese, and some so so Korean and Vietmese take out. Could have just been the places we found, but I don't think the french do hot/spicy the way we like .

Nope, in Paris , we stick to what we consider French food, I never eat Italian there either( well, I don't eat it at home either, it has so far been my least favorite type of food, ) although a few years ago with my teen we did get a decent pizza( better then what one gets in ITaly anyways, LOL ) one night in Paris.

Posted by
2297 posts

Pat,

depends what ethnic food you're looking for. You'd have more luck if you were looking for Northafrican or Middle Eastern cuisine. I ate my first Tabouleh ever in France and it was great. The best thing on the menu at the student restaurant in Paris was the Algerian style couscous with a meaty stew.

Posted by
2297 posts

Oh Terry, there are a lot of great foods Calvados makes even better. Cherries preserved in Calvados are to die for!!! Well, you actually will die from alcohol poisening if you aren't careful ...

Posted by
576 posts

So Beatrix, do you make these Calvados cherries or buy them? This sounds like something I must try!!!

Posted by
206 posts

Ohhhh, this brought back some great memories! My favorite drink was kir, and my favorite food was fromage blanc. It's kind of like a mild chevre, served with cream (and sometimes sugar). I could not get enough of fromage blanc!! On my second trip to France, I ate it almost every day. Yummmm.... Then there were the chevre salads, fresh ravioli w/ local herbs, anything in a crepe, and cheese cheese cheese. :-)

Posted by
576 posts

Please find out anything you can. My husband loves cherries and just imagining them soaked in Calvados sounds incredible.

Posted by
2297 posts

Terry,

I try to find out more. But I can tell you now that most likely the biggest issue with this is finding the right alcohol. The Calvados I've seen in the stores here has "only" 40% alcohol. For food/fruit preservation you usually need something like 54% or more. You can start looking what you can find in the liquor stores in your area or how you can spike regular Calvados without changing the taste. For instance, I would be able to get the Austrian Stroh Rum here with 54% alcohol but it has a rather sweet taste that would overpower the fruit flavour.

Posted by
194 posts

Oops! Sorry Jo. I guess I didn't read the thread very carefully. I thought you were just talking about good food in France and I was so excited about the falafel. Another thing that I loved was the pain d'epice from Mulot et Petitjean. We didn't get to the one in Dijon, but rather Beaune. I wish I had gotten a lot more, but it was rather expensive.

Posted by
104 posts

Mmmm....All of this food sounds incredible, and just reinforces the fact that the next time I go back to France, I am definitely going with an increased food budget! Being a student, I ate a lot of picnic meals when I was in Europe this summer. In France, I could not get enough of the cheese! Camembert, blue cheese, chevre, emmental, yum! I loved crepes, especially the ones with cheese and mushrroms or onion. In Marseilles I had an incredible meal - salad, rack of lamb, frites, and a chocolate mousse for dessert - the best 20 euros I spent the whole trip! LOL However, my favourite meal was cheese, baguette, fruit, and wine under the Eiffel Tower!

Posted by
360 posts

Croque Madame & Boudin made with chestnuts.

Posted by
123 posts

Crepes...are they served as a hand held food from vendors on the street? Aren't crepes very very thin omlets? I usually don't eat eggs but anything with Nutella sounds great!

Posted by
100 posts

Hi Jo-I love pain au chocolat-got one every morning I was in Paris-wonderful!

Posted by
104 posts

Laura: Crepes are actually a thin pancake, not an omelette. They can be sweet, with Nutella or fruit, etc., inside, or savory, with cheese and veggies, or meat inside. The sweet ones are usually made from wheat flour, while the savory ones, called galettes, are made with buckwheat flour.
In France you can get crepes in cafes, or you can go to a creperie, which specializes in crepes, though it will usually serve salads and omelettes too. Creperies often have a counter for take-out, and you can find vendors who sell them as well.

Posted by
1 posts

Religieuses (Nuns)- phenomenal double decker profiteroles (cream puffs), filled with pastry cream and napped with chocolate or caramel glaze. They have smaller cream puffs on the top, and vaguely look like nuns with habits! I would stop by my favorite patisserie on the way home from school several times a week and indulge! I can't wait to get back to France for more!

Posted by
7979 posts

I did have a wonderful buckwheat crepe filled with goat cheese in Bayeux. Quite nice. I love goats cheese and buy it all the time at our market, but had never had it in a crepe before. Yummy.

Posted by
11450 posts

Rose,, I may be wrong, but , isn't Boudin a blood sausage?!!? I had it at Christmas( if thats what I think it is) , supposed to be a special Christmas treat, but it did not blow me away,, I 'll stick to my raw oysters!!!

Posted by
360 posts

Pat, you're right - it is blood sausage & I've developed a love of it. My mother & her sisters used to make it when I was a kid (over 50 yrs ago). I wouldn't eat it then of course. First trip to Paris, I tried it & loved it. Since then I have it at least once & sometimes twice a trip. Wish I could buy it here.

Posted by
448 posts

Boudin noir is blood sausage...boudin blanc is milk and pork or other white meat with assorted seasonings. I was once in hospital in France, where supper can be the highlight of the day...and the boudin noir WASN'T.

Posted by
331 posts

My Daughter would hunt for tarte de citron at every pâtisserie and for me, it was Pain au Chocolat. I know there are tons of other wonderful foods to be had (and we did) but these were daily rituals for us.

Posted by
360 posts

Sylvia, I had a citron sable in Paris. It was like a sugar cookie with a rather thick (1/8 inch) topping of a yellow citron flavored icing. Really, really good. I'd like to try making them. Maybe someone here has a recipe for a sable cookie?? I liked it so well, I made a watercolor picture of it.