French cuisine is known for being rich in flavor and impossible to resist. Croissants, escargot, crème brulee, and creamy camembert come to mind at the thought of French delicacies, but there are so many more lesser-known dishes to try while you’re visiting France.
Some dating back thousands of years, the delicacies of France are national favorites for a reason. They are loaded with flavor and are the finest examples of comfort food, often warming you up in the cold winter months. Keep reading to find out what delicious delicacies you have to try while you’re in France.
10 Local Fave: Duck Confit
Duck confit is a delicacy that you need to try during any trip to France. Although many bistros in Paris don’t make their own from scratch, they do source them from the southwest of the country, which is said to be where the magic happens as far as duck confit goes.
So what is duck confit? It’s essentially duck that’s cooked in its own fat until the meat is super tender. The tradition goes back to the need to preserve duck meat for future consumption, according to BBC Good Food.
9 Bites Of Heaven: Macarons
People arrive in France expecting divine desserts, and they get them. Before you get through the crème brulee and crepes, you have to try some authentic macarons. Otherwise known as meringues filled with ganache, these really do make you feel like you’ve taken a bite of heaven.
The macaron master is undoubtedly Pierre Hermé, whose creations you can sample in Paris. While it’s hard enough to choose between the basic flavors of vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and raspberry, now you can get flavors ranging from Corsican honey to rose, lychee, and raspberry.
8 The Best Drink: Trou Normand
French food has a reputation for being heavy and rich, so you might need a little help to battle indigestion in the middle of your extensive five-course meal. Enter Trou Norman, a drink that contains sorbet and alcohol to help you digest your food and prepare for the next dish.
As The Guardian points out, Trou Normand might not always be on the menu. But, in many eateries, a waiter will unexpectedly bring it to you just when you need it. Many versions feature lemon or apple sorbet and a shot of Calvados.
7 A Classic: Steak Frites
It doesn’t get much more quintessentially French than grilled steak and fries. Though it might not be the most exotic of French delicacies, you must order it at least once while frequenting the French brasseries.
Typically, the fries are double-fried and always fresh, giving them a crisp that will keep you coming back for more. You’ll have the opportunity to choose your own cut of beef, as well as your own sauce to complement the classic dish. Although we think of Steak Frites as a French delicacy, some believe its place of origin is actually neighboring Belgium.
6 Delicious Dessert: Café Gourmand
The French excel at dessert, and the chances that you won’t have enough room to sample everything you’d like to are high. By ordering Café Gourmand, it won’t be necessary to have a lot of room left. The dish is made up of miniature puddings, so you can try some of everything without overstuffing yourself.
Often, the dish will come with a shot of espresso coffee paired with a mini crème brulee, brownie, and a fruity flan-like creation such as clafoutis. This is the perfect way to get your sugar fix without pushing yourself to the limit!
5 French Grilled Cheese: Croque Monsieur
France is well-known for the Fromages it has gifted the world. In the land of camembert and brie, it’s no surprise that you can get one of the most delicious grilled cheese creations known to man. Croque Monsieur is a sandwich that is filled with ham and cheese and then fried with cheese on the outside. Definitely not for the lactose intolerant!
Wanderlust Crew reveals that you can also get a Croque Madame, which is the same thing but made even richer with an egg on top. This is French toast meets grilled cheese, and you’ll be obsessed with it.
4 Yummy Soup: Soup De Poisson
Many travelers don’t realize that France has more to offer in the way of soups than just French onion. Soupe de Poisson is French fish soup, produced by combining seafood with stock and other ingredients. Even if you’re not a lover of seafood, this is still one to add to your must-try list.
Soupe de Poisson is often served with a crisp toast which you can spread with a garlicky spicy sauce known as rouille. The idea is to spread the toast and then dip it in the soup to lap up all the flavors of the ocean.
3 Get In Your Veggies: Ratatouille
Not every dish falling under the umbrella of French cuisine is healthy, but there’s no excuse for not getting your five a day while in France. A simple order of ratatouille is all you need! The stew often includes an array of vegetables, meaning it’s packed with health benefits in addition to warming your soul with its yummy flavor.
If you don’t like vegetables, ratatouille is the best way to convert yourself. In any given stew, you’ll find everything from eggplant and onions to bell peppers and zucchini.
2 The Best Kind Of Chicken: Coq Au Vin
Another kind of stew that you won’t want to miss while in France is coq au vin, otherwise known as the nation’s favorite chicken dish. Usually, the chicken is braised with wine, mushrooms, garlic, and lardons, giving it lots of flavor.
Although the dish was first recorded in the 1900s, many believe that its roots can be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar himself was said to have enjoyed a variant of coq au vin. If it’s good enough for the emperor, it’s good enough for us!
1 Cheese Lovers: Boulette D'Avesnes
France is the dream destination for any cheese lover. There are more than 1000 varieties of French cheese, so you probably won’t have the chance to sample them all. If there’s one that needs to be on your list, it’s Boulette d’Avesnes.
Shaped like a pyramid, this is one of the strongest and spiciest French cheeses. Produced in the village of Avesnes, located on the border between France and Belgium, Boulette d’Avesnes is loaded with flavor from the pepper, tarragon, cloves, and parsley that coat it. It may take some getting used to, but it’s worth it.