Top 10 must eat French delicacies

To the French, food is more than just nourishment, it is a way of life. The philosophy is that, if you haven’t enjoyed a feast of succulent and flavourful dishes made from carefully selected ingredients, set on a beautiful table, paired with fine wine, in the warm company of near and dear ones, it is as if you haven’t dined at all. So strong is France’s love affair with food that the ‘Gastronomic meal of the French’ is part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Now that you know why French cuisine is so special, here are our top 10 French food recommendations.

1. Huîtres (Oysters)

Oysters are a French delicacy and have been an obsession for centuries. Today they are a favourite dish at the dinner table during Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. This shellfish can be eaten warm, but real oyster lovers prefer eating them fresh, with a dash of lemon juice, or vinegar, or with shallot sauce.

2. Onion soup

This special soup is made almost exclusively from onions. A hearty broth that is the perfect winter treat, onion soup is made with caramelised onions, butter and stock, and topped with deliciously cheesy bread. The surprisingly simple ingredients and recipe is proof that French cuisine doesn’t have to complex to be delicious. 

3. Cassoulet

Originally from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole containing duck legs, pork and white beans. The dish originated in the south of France, and is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides. It has been enjoyed for centuries by rural families, and the French continue to cook it to bring the family together.

4. Escargots au Beurre Persillé (Herb Buttered Snails)

Originating in Burgundy, this French food comprises cooked snails with herb butter, commonly called “escargots à la bourguignonne”. Cooked, as the name suggests, with a butter parsley cream, they are presented in their shells and eaten with a little skewer. If you can get over your initial nerves, you’ll see why this high-protein, low-fat and vitamin-rich meal is just as loved by the French as camembert and baguettes.

5. Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse is a well-seasoned soup typical of the Marseille region. Once a cheap meal for hungry French fishermen, today the bouillabaisse is considered a feast fit for a king. Originating in a port city, the dish is made of various seafood, tomatoes, mustard, egg yolks, and aromatics from the South of France. This delicious stew is best served with bread and potatoes.

6. Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf bourguignon is a traditional family meal. It consists of slow cooked beef cuts with red wine, root vegetables and mushrooms. This dish is typical of Burgundy in east-central France, a region in which cattle farming and red wine are famous.

7. Coq-au-vin

The coq-au-vin (literally “rooster in wine”) is a symbol of French cookery and, according to the legend, the recipe dates back to the Gergovia battle and the victory of the Gallic leader Vercingetorix over Julius Caesar. It is a variation of the famous boeuf bourguignon – cooked with rooster marinated in red wine with bacon and mushrooms.

8. Frogs’ Legs (Cuisses de Grenouilles)

Another French food that has always captured the imagination of tourists is frogs’ legs. They are generally breaded or fried with a bit of onion. The meat is delicate and soft, and tastes a bit like poultry.  Legend has it that the French started eating frogs' legs in the 12th century when cunning monks who were forced into a "no-meat" diet managed to have frogs classified as fish. The peasants soon started to eat them too.

9. Foie Gras

The experience of tasting foie gras is widely described as being one of the most sublime and pleasurable dining experiences. This gourmet delicacy is made from goose or duck liver, has a rich and buttery flavour, and is served in various melt-in-the-mouth forms. Fun fact: As per the French law, foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France. 

10. Tarte Tartin

This delightful upside down apple tart is a fitting finish to a delicious French meal. Made with caramelised apples (or any other fruit), pastry, sugar and dollops of butter, the tart is flipped just before serving, giving you scrumptious butter soaked caramelised fruit followed by crumbly pastry. Like some of the best things in the world, this French speciality was invented quite by accident when the apples were left cooking in butter and sugar for too long and the tart was accidentally flipped.

Chicken in Red Wine Sauce - Gabriel Gaté 

Crêpes with Raspberries - Gabriel Gaté