If you’re planning a trip to France, or even just dreaming about one, then you’re probably wondering what kind of food and drink you’ll be able to enjoy while you’re there. France is renowned for its cuisine, and with good reason – it’s absolutely delicious!
There are so many different types of food and drink to try in France, from classic French dishes to more regional specialties. And of course, you can’t forget about the wine! France is one of the world’s leading wine producers, so you’re sure to find something you love.
In this guide, we’ll give you a taste of what France has to offer food and drink-wise. We’ll start with a brief overview of the country’s cuisine, before moving on to some of the must-try dishes and drinks. Bon appetit!
Overview of French Cuisine
French cuisine has long been renowned for its elegance and sophistication. Drawing on the bountiful produce of the country’s fertile farmland, French chefs have created a culinary tradition that is both refined and down-to-earth. The staple dishes of French cuisine are often simple in composition, but they are carefully prepared using the freshest ingredients and the utmost care. This commitment to quality is what sets French cuisine apart from other culinary traditions.
In addition to its many delicious dishes, France is also well-known for its fine wines and spirits. The country’s temperate climate is ideal for grape-growing, and French vintners have long been masters of their craft. Wine plays an important role in French culture, and it is often enjoyed with meals as a way to enhance the dining experience. Whether you are enjoying a simple country meal or a lavish feast, a glass of French wine is sure to add a touch of refinement.
There are so many wonderful dishes to try in France, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some of the most essential French dishes that you absolutely must try on your next visit:
1. Coq au vin
Coq au vin is a French dish made with chicken, wine, mushrooms, and bacon. The chicken is cooked in the wine, which gives it a rich, full flavor. This dish is usually served with potatoes or rice. Coq au vin is a classic French dish that has been around for centuries. It was traditionally made with a rooster, but today it is more commonly made with chicken.
The dish originated in the Burgundy region of France, where the best wines are produced. Coq au vin is an elegant dish that is perfect for entertaining guests. It can be made ahead of time and reheated when ready to serve. This dish is sure to impress your guests and leave them wanting more.
2. Boeuf bourguignon
Boeuf bourguignon is a French dish that typically consists of beef stewed in red wine and vegetables. The dish is usually cooked in a pot over low heat for several hours, allowing the flavors to meld together. Boeuf bourguignon is often served with mashed potatoes or egg noodles, making it a hearty and satisfying meal.
While the dish may take some time to prepare, the results are well worth the effort. For those looking to experience the best of French cuisine, boeuf bourguignon is a must-try dish.
3. Croque monsieur
A Croque monsieur is a baked or fried ham and cheese sandwich. The dish originated in Paris, France, and is very popular in French cafes. It is composed of two slices of bread, with Gruyère or Emmental cheese and ham in the middle.
The sandwich is then coated with a sauce made from béchamel, egg, and mustard, and topped with more cheese. This cheesy dish is usually served with a side of salad or fries. Croque monsieur is a tasty and satisfying meal that can be enjoyed any time of day.
4. Quiche Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine is a traditional French dish that is perfect for any occasion. It is made with eggs, cream, bacon, and cheese, and can be served either hot or cold. Quiche Lorraine is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
And, best of all, it is relatively easy to make. Whether you are looking for a quick and easy meal or a show-stopping centerpiece for your next dinner party, Quiche Lorraine is sure to please.
5. Pain perdu
Pain perdu, which means “lost bread,” is a type of French toast made from stale bread. The bread is soaked in a mixture of eggs and milk, then fried until it is golden brown. Pain perdu is often served with fruit or jam, and it makes for a delicious and satisfying breakfast or snack.
These thin, round pancakes can be sweet or savory, and they make a delicious addition to any meal. What makes crêpes so special is their versatility. They can be served for breakfast with fruit and yogurt, or for lunch or dinner with a variety of fillings.
Sweet crêpes are typically made with wheat flour and filled with things like chocolate, lemon curd, or sugar and butter. Savory crêpes, on the other hand, are normally made with buckwheat flour and filled with ingredients like cheese, ham, and eggs.
Macarons are a type of French pastry that is made from almond flour, egg whites, and sugar. They are often flavored with fruit, chocolate, or nuts and can be found in a variety of colors. While they may look delicate, macarons are actually quite strong and can be stored for up to two weeks.
Macarons originated in Italy, but they were popularized in France during the Renaissance. Since then, they have become a staple of French cuisine and are enjoyed by people of all ages. While they are often associated with special occasions, macarons can also be enjoyed as an everyday treat.
These delectable pastries are made with a light and airy choux dough that is piped into long, thin strips and then baked until golden brown. Once they are out of the oven, the éclairs are filled with a creamy filling of your choice and then dipped in chocolate. The result is a delicious treat that is perfect for any occasion.
This French pastry consists of a small cream puff filled with custard or whipped cream and often topped with chocolate sauce. While the profiterole originated in Italy, it has become a staple of French cuisine. Thanks to its popularity, you can find profiteroles at many bakeries and cafes throughout France.
10. Tarte Tatin
Tarte Tatin is a classic French dish that consists of an upside-down apple tart. The dish is named after the Tatin sisters, who created the dish at their hotel in France. The tart is made by first caramelizing sugar and butter in a pan, then adding apples (traditionally the tarte is made with Granny Smith apples).
The pastry dough is then placed on top of the apples, and the entire tart is baked in the oven. When it is finished, the tart is turned upside-down, revealing the caramelized apples on top. Tarte Tatin is usually served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
No trip to France would be complete without trying at least one of the many delicious drinks the country has to offer. Here are a few drinks you absolutely must try:
Wine is, without a doubt, one of France’s most iconic products. The country is home to some of the world’s oldest and most renowned vineyards, and its wines are enjoyed by millions of people around the globe. Whether you’re a fan of red, white, or rosé, there’s a French wine out there that will suit your taste.
And, with so many different regions to explore, you could spend a lifetime trying different wines from all corners of the country. If you’re planning a trip to France, be sure to add wine tasting to your list of things to do. You won’t regret it!
This iconic drink is synonymous with luxury and celebration, and it has been produced in the Champagne region of France for centuries. Although champagne can be enjoyed any time of year, it is particularly popular during the Christmas and New Year holidays. There are many different types of champagne, from dry to sweet, so there is sure to be a style to suit everyone’s taste.
This premium French spirit is made from distilled wine that has been aged in oak barrels for at least two years. The result is a smooth, rich beverage with flavors of vanilla, spice, and dried fruit. Cognac is typically enjoyed neat or on the rocks, but it can also be used in cocktails.
Pastis is an anise-flavored spirit and apéritif from France. It is usually diluted with water and served with ice. It often has a yellow color, but this is not a requirement.
It originates from the south of France and has been produced there since the 1830s. The name “pastis” comes from Occitan pastís which means “mixture”. Pastis is similar to absinthe, another anise-flavored spirit, but it does not contain wormwood and is therefore not as bitter.
Kir is a classic French cocktail made with white wine and cassis. It’s a refreshing option for summer sipping, and it’s also incredibly easy to make. The key to a great Kir is to use a high-quality cassis liqueur.
Once you have your cassis, simply combine it with white wine in a ratio of 1:10. For a small glass, that would be one ounce of cassis to ten ounces of wine. For a large glass, double the ratios.
Kir can be served over ice or straight up, depending on your preference. If you’re serving it over ice, be sure to add the ice after you’ve mixed the drink so that the cassis doesn’t become diluted. Garnish with a lemon twist or sprig of mint and enjoy!
6. Sirop de menthe
Sirop de menthe, or mint syrup, is a refreshing drink that originated in France. Made with sugar, water, and mint leaves, it can be enjoyed on its own or added to cocktails and other beverages. Sirop de menthe has a long history in France, dating back to the 19th century.
It was originally used as a medicinal syrup, but it soon became popular as a drink. Today, it is a staple of French culture and can be found in many cafes and restaurants. If you’re looking for a refreshing way to cool down on a hot day, sirop de menthe is the perfect choice.
Orgeat is a sweet almond-flavored syrup that is most commonly used in cocktails. It originated in France, and its name comes from the French word for barley, Orge. Traditionally, Orgeat was made by soaking barley in water and then flavoring it with almonds, orange flower water, and sugar.
Today, the syrup is typically made with almonds, sugar, and orange flower water. Although Orgeat syrup is most commonly associated with cocktails, it can also be used in coffee or tea. When choosing an Orgeat syrup, look for one that is made with 100% pure almond extract and has no artificial flavors or colors.
The best way to enjoy Orgeat syrup is to mix it into a refreshing cocktail. Try adding it to a classic Mai Tai or use it as a base for a delicious summertime libation.
This vibrant red drink is popular all over the country, and it has a long history dating back to the Middle Ages. Grenadine is made from pomegranates, which were originally grown in Persia. The fruit was brought to Europe by Crusaders, and it quickly became a favorite ingredient in medieval cookery.
These days, Grenadine is most commonly used as a mixer for cocktails such as the Gin Fizz and the Shirley Temple. It can also be poured over ice cream or used as a topping for pancakes.
Pousse-cafe is a type of layered drink that originated in France. It is made by slowly pouring different types of Alcoholic beverages into a glass, in a way that each liquid float on top of the other. Creating Pousse-Cafe is an art, and often takes years of practice to perfect. There are many different ways to make a pousse-cafe, but the most important thing is to use high-quality liqueurs and to pour them very slowly and carefully. A well-made pousse-cafe should have between 3 and 5 layers, with each layer being a different color. The most important thing to remember when making a pousse-cafe is to pour each liquid very slowly and carefully so that they do not mix together. If done correctly, you should be able to see each individual layer in the glass.
10. Café brûlot
Café brûlot is a popular drink in France that is made with coffee, alcohol, spices, and citrus peel. The coffee is brewed with the addition of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Then, a spirit such as a cognac or brandy is added along with lemon or orange peel.
The drink is then flame-lit before being served. Café brûlot is typically enjoyed after dinner as a digestive aid. Coffee and alcohol help to stimulate the digestive system, while spices provide a warming effect. Citrus peel adds a refreshing zest to the drink.
Best Wine Varieties to Try in France
France is world-renowned for its wines, and with good reason. The country boasts a wide range of climates and geographical features, which allow for the production of a diverse selection of wine styles. Whether you prefer red, white, or sparkling wine, there’s sure to be a French variety that suits your taste.
Here are just a few of the best wine varieties to try on your next trip to France:
Merlot is a red wine grape that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be derived from the old French word for young blackbird (merle), referring to the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines usually have medium-to-low tannins and medium acidity.
The grape is normally harvested between late September and early October. Wines made from Merlot tend to be fruity, with flavors of blackberry, plum, and chocolate.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular varieties of French wine. The grape is known for its deep color and full-bodied flavor. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are typically aged in oak barrels, which helps to give them their distinctive taste.
If you’re looking to try something new on your next trip to France, consider Sauvignon blanc. This crisp, dry white wine is produced in several regions of the country, including Bordeaux, Loire Valley, and Provence. Sauvignon blanc is typically light-bodied and refreshing, with floral or citrusy aromas.
Ugni Blanc is a white wine grape variety that is native to the Mediterranean Basin. The grape is also known as Trebbiano in Italy and Saint Emilion in France. The Ugni Blanc grape is used to make a wide range of wines, from light, refreshing wines to fuller-bodied, oxidative wines.
. This full-bodied red wine is known for its rich flavor and deep color. Grenache is often used as a base for blended wines, but it can also be enjoyed on its own. The grape is native to the Mediterranean region, and it thrives in warm climates. Grenache wines are typically aged in oak barrels, which helps to round out their flavors.
Syrah is a full-bodied red wine with intense fruit flavors and a distinctive pepperiness, originating in the northern Rhône Valley. When made in a warmer climate, Syrah can take on characteristics of chocolate and spices. While it is often blended with other varieties, some of the best Syrahs are single-varietal wines.
.Pinot Noir wines are often likened to red Burgundies, and indeed the two share many similarities. Both are usually light-bodied with delicate aromas and flavors of red berries, currants, and cherries. Pinot Noir wines can also have hints of earthiness, mushrooms, and truffles.
Chardonnay wines are typically medium-bodied with moderate acidity. They often have notes of citrus, green apple, and pear, as well as subtle hints of oak from the aging process. Chardonnay is an excellent choice for food pairing, and it goes well with poultry, seafood, and pasta dishes.
Cabernet franc is often used as a blending grape, but it can also be drunk on its own. When trying this variety of wine, look for aromas of blackberry and violet, with flavors of freshly ground black pepper. Cabernet franc pairs well with food, so it is the perfect wine to enjoy with a meal.
This vigorous red wine grape is one of the most widely planted in the world and is a staple of the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region. Carignan wines are typically high in acidity and tannins, with dark fruit flavors and a hint of spice. When young, they can be quite harsh, but they soften and round out with age.
There you have it! A comprehensive guide to French food and drink. France is renowned for its delicious food and fine wine, and it’s no surprise that the country’s cuisine is one of the most popular in the world. While there are many different regional dishes to try, there are also some national favorites that should not be missed.
So next time you’re planning a trip to France, be sure to sample some of the local food and drink especially wines. Bon appétit!