Last Updated on September 11, 2023 by April | Dreaming in French
Looking for famous food from France? Then you’re in the right place!
One of the best cuisines in the world is French. For the French, it’s nearly a way of life, and for those who have tried it and fallen in love with it, it’s a passion.
French cuisine combines a variety of food products, some of which might be startling at times, with wonderful flavors while maintaining a healthy diet.
You should taste all these well-known French meals if you enjoy French cuisine or if you just want to learn more about it. They have helped to establish Paris and the rest of France as destinations for upscale, delectable, and extraordinarily diverse cuisine.
Check out these top 10 French foods for inspiration, whether it comes from haute cuisine or country fare.
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If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of famous foods of France:
What is Traditional French Cuisine?
Food from France is renowned for its incredible variety and frequent blending of various components. Ever consider eating snails as a food?
A feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, French cuisine is especially renowned for its presentation and visual appeal. It offers a healthy, tasty, and entertaining combination.
The French culinary tradition is one that has a long history and is ingrained in French society. French royalty used to host banquets for days on end. French people are eager to promote their cuisine and are proud of it.
The French culinary arts are a shared and public passion. With all the media content about French food and pastries, even young people might become passionate about it.
Sharing meals at home or enjoying delicious meals at French restaurants that serve a variety of classic French dishes with an abundance of flair and flavor are, in fact, authentic ways of living.
The Most Famous Foods in France
French Onion Soup
The origin of the French onion soup can be traced back to Ancient Rome which makes it over 8,000 years old. Of course, the recipe has evolved over time, but the main ingredients remain the same: minced onions, beef stock, and toasted bread. Grated and grilled Comté cheese has also become a crucial ingredient of the soup now.
You will find different versions of French onion soup being served at different eateries and restaurants all over France, especially in Paris. This is one of those dishes that you just can’t miss, so make sure you give it a try on your trip to France.
Named after the woman who invented it, Tarte Tatin is one of the most famous French desserts that you will find at virtually every restaurant you go to. It is essentially an upside-down caramelized apple tart. Apart from being a delicious dessert, Tarte Tatin is famous for having some fascinating history behind it.
There are many different versions of this story, but legend says that Tarte Tatin was born accidentally when a girl was trying to make a regular apple tart but ended up placing the apple tart in the oven the wrong way round, with the pastry and apples upside down. Not knowing what to do, she took it out and served this strange-looking apple tart after dinner and it was an immediate hit.
There is still one well-known dish that is appropriate for vegetarians among all the French culinary heavy hitters that use meat and poultry: ratatouille. Ratatouille, which derives its name from the French verb touille, which means “toss,” was first popularized in the Provence area of France but swiftly spread throughout the country because to its use of seasonal fresh vegetables.
In order to make ratatouille, which includes a colorful assortment of eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, and tomatoes, you may either bake the veggies as a casserole or sauté them in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. The stew that results can be eaten warm or chilled.
This popular beef stew originated from Burgundy and was considered a peasant’s meal back in the day. However, over the years it has become somewhat of a staple of east-central France. Prepared with a chewy piece of meat that is slowly cooked over a few days to make it tender and flavorful, Bœuf bourguignon was first referenced in a cookbook in 1903 by a local chef named Auguste Escoffier.
What makes this dish special is the local ingredients and the century-old history. The rich stew is made with red Burgundy wine combined with onions, garlic, tomato paste, beef stock, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, butter, pearl onions, white mushrooms, carrots, salt, pepper, and potatoes.
The cassoulet is a ragout centered on beans that was first made in the southern town of Castelnaudary. The ingredients vary depending on the location. White beans are cooked in Castelnaudary with sausage, pig, and duck confit. Mutton and other gamey meats are common in Carcassonne. Toulouse tops the dish with bread crumbs.
Because the French adore this meal so much, Castelnaudary has its own fraternity, the Grande Confrérie du Cassoulet, to protect it.
Salade Niçoise is a big point of contention among the residents of Nice. There is a lot of debate on what should and shouldn’t go into a Salade Niçoise, but one thing is for sure, you won’t find any cooked vegetables in it. The actual recipe, however, is quite simple, it has tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, onions, boiled eggs, and a few leaves of lettuce, topped with salted anchovy fillets, and tiny local black olives.
Compared to some of the other foods on the list, this might not sound as exciting, but everyone who eats it will tell you that the hype is real.
Originating from Lothringen, which was a medieval kingdom under German rule, quiche is another famous French staple. Quiche comes from the German word ‘kuchen’ which translates to cake. Originally, quiche consisted of an open pie with egg, cream custard, and bacon fillings and cheese became an important ingredient later on.
Many different versions of the quiche exist now with tons of different fillings including smoked salmon and ground beef. Back in the day, it used to be made from bread dough, whereas now it has evolved into a puff pastry crust which has arguably made it even bet.
You can’t go to France and not try a croissant. I’m sure you would have tried many croissants from different bakeries, but I doubt they tasted anything like the ones you will find in France. This flaky and buttery delicacy actually originates from Vienna, Austria, and has been a Viennese staple for ages.
It was popularized in France, when Marie Antoinette asked the royal bakers to replicate her favorite treat from her homeland. The royal bakery started serving croissants among other Viennese specialties and quickly became very popular. This started to inspire French bakers all over the country and the rest is history.
Served as dessert at some of the most high-end eateries in crêperies, crêpes are ultra-thin pancake rolls that are filled with different fillings both sweet and savory. The fillings can range from different jams, Nutella, and cream to different cheeses, ham, and seafood. This specialty originated in Brittany in the 13th century and has been a staple of the northwestern region of France ever since.
Bouillabaisse, a dish from Marseille that has a long name and even longer list of ingredients, is a staple of French cuisine. The soup takes the catch of the day above your typical soupe de poisson and is now a staple on many Michelin-starred menus.
The Mediterranean port’s bouillabaisse charter stipulates that the soup must have at least four of six distinct fish varieties that are chopped up in front of the diners in order to standardize the ingredients and preparation of the traditional meal.
No self-respecting bouillabaisse is complete without croutons soaked in rouille, a peppery garlic sauce, on top, along with optional crustaceans and a hot broth.
Famous for its sweetish taste and silky texture, Foie Gras is one of the most popular French delicacies that you must try on your trip there. This dish has a history that can be traced back to ancient Egyptians who started using the livers of migratory ducks as they would eat to the point where they would gorge themselves before a long migration and all the extra calories would be stored in the livers.
Now a days raising ducks and geese for foie gras is considered an art. These birds are hand-fed two weeks prior to processing to simulate the same effect which makes this delicacy quite expensive as well.
Croque monsieur is the French version of grilled cheese and can be found in virtually every cafe or bistro you walk into in France. It is one of the most popular fast-food cuisines in France and is often served with fries and salad. It is simple in ingredients, yet rich in taste and texture.
The title comes from the word croquet which means to bite and monsieur which means mister. So, it can be translated to a gentleman’s bite. It started popping up on different menus all over Paris in the early 1900s and has since become a popular fast-food cuisine all over the world.
One of the most well-known — or infamous, depending on who you ask — French cuisine is escargots. The treat, whose history dates all the way back to the Roman Empire, may not be for everyone, but the adventurous eater should give it a go.
Found in the vineyard of Burgundy, plump snails are in high demand all over France. This is because they are the main ingredient in another Burgundy delicacy called Escargot. These snails are cooked in white wine and stuffed with garlicky parsley-shallot butter, and then baked to the point where things start bubbling.
Most restaurants will serve this delicacy in portions of six or twelve fancy dishes called escargotiéres.
What are some of your favorite French foods to eat? Let me know in the comments below!