France is such a vast country with such a magnificent larder, there simply aren’t enough meals in a lifetime to try all that the Hexagon has to offer, so Florence Derrick whittles it down to the top 10 most iconic French foods you mustn’t miss out on. How many have you tried?
It goes without saying, but you can never tire of this most français of French staples. When in France, don’t go a day without one… and make sure you get up early to snap one up at its freshest.
These thin Breton pancakes are as versatile as they are delicious. Grab a Nutella crêpe if you’re in need of a sugar hit when you’re out and about, or enjoy the theatre of a crêpe Suzette to round off dinner in a restaurant.
The true test of how much you really love fish. Whatever is caught in Marseille’s harbour each morning ends up in this tomato-based stew. Traditionally a pauper’s dish made from whatever fish didn’t sell that day, Marseille’s magnificent brigade of inventive young chefs are raising this classic to new, refined heights.
The nation’s favourite entrée, perfecting the balancing act between salty savoury and caramelised sweet, and perfectly topped with a crusty, cheesy crouton, it has, quite rightly, become one of the world’s most famous soups.
Voted France’s national dish, no trip would be complete without it. Don’t risk disapproval from the waiters – dare to go rare, or if you’re bold enough, order a raw steak tartare.
While we’re on the subject of national delicacies, a plate of snails in a garlic butter sauce is about as quintessential as French food gets. If you’re on the squeamish side, be brave – we promise you, you’ll thank us.
CONFIT DE CANARD
This recipe from Gascony slow cooks a duck leg in its own fat. Yes, it’s hugely indulgent but worth those extra calories for its melty tenderness.
A lighter option but delicious nonetheless, this iconic salad is best served alongside a warm evening and a view over the Mediterranean. The earthy, salty black olives and anchovies bring out the subtler flavours of boiled egg and green beans. Scrumptious and kind to the waistline too, so it’s a win-win!
You can’t go wrong with this gorgeously creamy, vanilla dessert. Thoroughly indulgent, it’s also light and not overly sweet, so being too full for pudding is never a problem! Tap through the caramelised top and let your spoon glide into the silky custard beneath.
Last but not least, the legendary butter croissant manages to mix utter simplicity with sublime artisanship. Think you’ve had some good ones at home? Think again – there’s nothing like the buttery perfection of a freshly-made French croissant. Do like the French do and dip it in your coffee at breakfast – miam!
Originally published on our sister site, FrenchEntrée