Food spotlight: the French regions

Today, French cuisine is recognized as the gold standard around the world but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, it’s only after Catherine de Medici married the future French king Henry II in the mid-1500s that France’s fledgling culinary culture was born. That’s because Catherine found French food not to her liking and imported her progressive cooks from Florence and elsewhere in Italy. They introduced ingredients like garlic, truffles, and mushrooms, completely reinventing French menus.

Still, Catherine may have been a little hard on her new subjects. Throughout France’s regions, a treasure of gastronomic delights, passed down through the centuries, still remain for us to enjoy. Here are a few of our favorites:

Blanquette de veau: This classic northern veal ragout combines white meat with onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, cream, and rice and is often served with a Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.

Choucroute: The Alsace-Lorraine region of France borders Germany so it’s not surprising that many of its dishes are influenced by its Teutonic neighbor. Choucroute’s ingredients vary but often include hot sauerkraut, potatoes, and meat ranging from sausage to salted pork, back bacon, fish, or goose. The cabbage is usually heated with a glass of Riesling and goose or pork fat.

Ratatouille: Perhaps the most well-known regional French dish outside France, this stew originated around Nice and the Provencal region and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Key ingredients include zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and aromatic herbs. Variations can be found throughout the Mediterranean from Catalonia and Majorca to Sicily, Greece, Turkey and Morocco.

Galette Bretonne: Most of us are familiar with traditional French crepes but these savory buckwheat ones from Brittany are another level of mouthwatering deliciousness. Usually stuffed with ham, cheese and a fried egg, this delicacy is also called “crepe sarrasin” (the French word for buckwheat) or “galette complète” because it’s considered complete from a nutrition standpoint. Nutritious or not, in our opinion, it’s a perfect meal – for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

What French dishes have you tried and which are your favorites? Share your culinary experiences with the Shop Talk blog community forum.

Did you know? Foie Gras

Though it’s preparation has become controversial in recent years, there’s no question this luxury delicacy, made of duck or goose liver, is divinely delicious.

39 thoughts on “Food spotlight: the French regions

  1. Crepes-yummy Coq au Van-yummy Foi gras- yummy- Snails- Nope pass this one I ate it once and yuck. Boef bourguignon yummy -oh I make Duck ala Orange all the time. Yummy x 10.

  2. Honestly French cuisine is something I just have never been exposed to. Grew up in a meat and potatoes/German home. I took Spanish as my second language in school. I can’t even think of a French restaurant near my home anywhere that I have lived. The little bit I know about French cuisine, right or wrong, is that it is rich, complicated and I can’t pronounce the name of the dish. I do love French Bread and French toast-does that count?!.

  3. I have tried and also made the Ratatouille. Love the combination of flavors and the colors all together make for an appetizing experience.

  4. The recipe for Ratatouille was perfect. I’m a vegetarian and I always thought this dish called for meat of some sort. NOPE! It was/is great!!! Thank you.

  5. I would be Wilson to try all of these, but the Galette Bretonne sounds like the one I would enjoy the most!?

  6. We live in the Cote d Rhône area of France in summer and have for 30 years. My husband does research at CERN and we use Geneva as our launching point to travel the continent every year. It’s enabled me to learn from the locals how to make and serve so many dishes that have become part of our menu year round. I have years of food pictures to remind me too.

  7. My favorite french breakfast is a good cup of coffee withe a flaky buttery croissant!

  8. My Mother was born in France and was excellent in the French cuisine. Ratatouille was made and canned for year round eating. All veggies grown in our garden.
    Foie Gras, a favorite of my family. My mother enjoyed cooking. I’ve eaten all the dishes you described here. I must admit we always thought my mother cooked better than Julia Childs.

  9. To date a French favorite is cassoulet. This southern France dish offers unique flavors with the pork sausage, duck and haricot beans. Great taste and very filling.

  10. I love french food, with the exception of foie gras. I always thought that I would love everything about french cuisine, but never could aquire a taste for liver of any sort, no matter how pretty it’s presented. I also will not eat escargot. Not a fan of eating most crustations or organ meats. My hubby loves it all, but I have a fussy palette.

  11. I visited Paris for the second this in March 2019. My favorite food there is Foie Gras with a glass of white french wine. .There is nothing more refreshing. Even when my phone was pick pocketed there, this was a welcome treat! I love trying this at multiple restaurants because they all have their own twist. I have not met on Foie Gras that I did not like.

  12. I never knew that #the ole French Fryes were prepared in so many different waa .Personaly I love the ,frayed poratikind that my mom fixed us always Fried taters and onions.They are in the words of my great grandbabiesTHE BOMB.

  13. My first trip to France was more than 30 years ago and I tried 7 with hollandaise and escargot and flying in many pastries. The second trip Evan wouldn’t have time we had wonderful cheese’s some onion soup and more fish with different sauces and it was lovely.

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