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Principal Regional Dishes of France

French cuisine is amongst the finest in the world. This is thanks, in part, to the wide variety of foods that the climate supports. From the cooler climes of the north, to the sunnier regions of the South, French farmers grow some of the most diverse crops in the world. Over the centuries, each region has developed their own specialities, and just a few of the better known ones are listed here.

Aligot

Aligot

Aligot is primarily a mashed potato dish. Traditionally made in the L’Aubrac region, the dish also contains cheese, garlic, butter and quite often, cream. Aligot is best served with sausages or roast pork and is generally accompanied by red wine.

Andouillette de Troyes

Andouillette de Troyes

Love it or hate it, Andouillette has divided food lovers for generations. This chitterling sausage from the Champagne region is manufactured using the finest pork products, which also includes the large intestine and stomach. The food is so popular that the Association Amicale des Amateurs d'Andouillette Authentique (AAAAA) was formed in 1970. The finest Andouillette receives a certificate from the organisation and is entitled to call itself Andouillette AAAAA.

Bœuf bourguignon

Bœuf bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon is one of the most famous of all French dishes. As the name suggests, the dish originates from the Burgundy region, although it has become popular across France. Primarily a beef stew, the dish includes beef, red wine, garlic, onions and a bouquet garni. Towards the end of cooking, pearl onions and mushrooms are added and in some cases, lardons. An absolute must have meal on any visit to France.

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

Provence is home to this traditional fish stew. Originating in Marseille (which is still home to some of the best bouillabaisses in the world), the recipe for this traditional dish is thought to date back centuries. No two bouillabaisses are the same, and while the stew will usually contain red rascasse, sea robin and European conger, there are a plethora of other ingredients which may be added including monkfish, sea urchins, crabs and octopus. It is well worth sampling if you are in the area.

Cassoulet

Cassoulet

Cassoulet originates in the South of France, having first been created in the former French province of Languedoc. This popular casserole derives its name from the traditional earthenware pot it is cooked in, the cassole. Traditional ingredients include white beans, sausage and duck or goose confit. Pork, mutton and even partridge may also be used in regional versions of cassoulet.

Choucroute garnie

Choucroute garnie

Choucroute garnie is a popular recipe from the Alsace region. Usually comprised of sauerkraut, sausage and other cooked meats the dish is often accompanied by potatoes. This dish is normally served with inexpensive meats, and the sauerkraut is often heated using a glass of Riesling. More expensive versions do exist, such as choucroute royale, where the sauerkraut is heated with champagne, and the accompanying meats are wild game and foie gras.

Confit de canard

Confit de canard

Confit de canard is a speciality of the Gascony region in Southwest France. Made from the leg of a duck, the dish takes almost 2 days to prepare. The meat first goes through a salt curing stage which generally takes around 36 hours, and is followed by a slow roasting stage usually 4-10 hours. The resulting confit is then either consumed immediately with salad, or alternatively it may be stored in a sealed jar for up to 6 months.

Coq au vin

Coq au vin

Coq au vin is another speciality of the Burgundy region and similar in preparation to beef bourguignon. The dish comprises chicken, red wine (traditionally Burgundy), onions, mushrooms, lardons and occasionally garlic. Variations of the dish exist throughout France and are named accordingly. There is coq au Riesling from the Alsace region, coq au vin jaune from Jura, and coq au Champagne from …. Champagne!

Crêpes

Crêpes

Crêpes are thin pancakes, which are most commonly associated with Brittany. Crêpes are popular across France and are served with almost any filling you can think of. From ham, cheese, mushrooms and even ratatouille for savoury pancakes, to fruit, chocolate spread and maple syrup for the sweet versions, the possibilities are endless. Probably the best known variation is the Crêpe Suzette which has a distinctive orange taste derived from the orange juice and Grand Marnier liqueur with which it is flavoured.

Flamiche

Flamiche

Flamiche is a puff pastry tart that resembles a quiche. It is a specialty of the Picardy region and is traditionally made using leeks and cream.

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

As the name suggests, this dish finds its roots in the Lorraine region. Although originally a German dish, the French have now adopted it as their own and people across the world associate quiche with France. Like most dishes, the recipe has evolved over time, and a traditional quiche lorraine now comprises a pastry base with a filling of smoked bacon, cheese and savoury custard.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a vegetable stew from Provence. Although it is more often presented as a side dish, it is occasionally served as a main meal, accompanied by bread, rice or pasta. It has a tomato base and traditionally includes onions, garlic, courgettes, aubergines and bell peppers, seasoned with a mix of local herbs.

Tarte flambée

Tarte flambée

This Alsace speciality is known locally as flammekueche. Tarte flambée consists of a very thinly rolled bread dough, topped with crème fraiche, onions and lardons. Contrary to what the name suggests, the creation is not cooked by flame, but more usually in wood fired oven. Tarte flambée comes in a number of variations which include the addition of various cheeses and mushrooms. There are even scrumptious dessert varieties which may contain apples, strawberries and chocolate. Dessert variations do tend to be flambéed with the addition of a little Calvados liqueur.

Teurgoule

Teurgoule

Teurgoule is a rice pudding like dish which is popular in the Normandy region. It is very similar to its British counterpart and contains milk, rice, sugar and cinnamon or nutmeg.

Culinary Delights

There are a great many more traditional dishes served throughout France. The best way to find them is to ask what the waiter recommends, as a speciality of the region. You are certain to be treated to a culinary delight.

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