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Following the epic food trail of Europe: Day 1 – France

Europe’s food chronicles are as versatile as its cuisines. So what’s this fuss about European food dating back to… forever? Without further ado, let’s start with our series that envelops the food trail of 8 different European countries.

You know you’ve arrived in France when the air around you lingers with fairly distinctive aroma of vintage wines, barnyardy cheese and of course romance(mandatory!). Known for flavouring every food with tints and pints of french cheese and Bordeaux wines, France quite stands outs as the gourmets’ paradise.

#8 Ratatouille

Ratatouille is derived from the word touiller, meaning ‘tossing food’

A simple, softened eggplant base elevated to otherworldly levels with scraps of aromatically intense zucchini, bell peppers and Parisian onion. Ratatouille is best complemented by boiled rice, quiche or the traditional tomato sauce.

History: Ratatouille originated as a minimal-yet-flavourful dish for poor peasants in the Nice region. As intended, it came out to be a super delicious dish with as few as a handful of ingredients.

Best place to get: Chez Janou: 2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 75003 Paris

#7 Cassoulet

Named after the vessel in which it’s made and served, the casserole

Lavishly loaded with beans soaked up in the savoury essence of seasoned meat and carefully picked pork skin, is this dish that will be a sheer delight for your discerning palates.

History: This perplexing Languedocian dish, which tastes equally delicious with many permutations of just a couple or more ingredients is sure the most versatile french dish.

Best place to get: Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie: 1 Chemin Saint-Jammes, 11320 Labastide-d’Anjou

#6 Coq au vin

Coq au vin literally translates to ‘Chicken in wine’.

Strips of crisp chicken meticulously braised in red wine, most preferably burgundy, is the most authentic French dish you can ever find.

History: This rusty charm, though rumoured to have existed as long ago as the era of Julius Caesar, wasn’t documented until the 20th century. But interestingly, a similar recipe called Poulet au vin blanc has appeared in 18th century’s cookbooks.

Best place to get: La Jacobine: 59-61 Rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris

#5 Boeuf bourguignon

Pronouned bore-green-yone, it derives its name from the region it belongs to, Burgundy

In the far-eastern France is the Burgundy region which couldn’t forgo celebrating its native charolais cattle, in the form of this European classic.

History: This smokey beef stewed in delectable red wine was initially a peasant dish that has in recent times attained the status of a vintage French meal.

Best place to get: Caves Madeleine: 8 Rue du Faubourg Madeleine, 21200 Beaune

#4 Soupe a L’oignon

Soupe a L’oignon ~ Onion soup

The real high is when you work your way through the gruyere-laden bread weighed down by the flavourful Cotes du Rhone wine. Also, look out for perfectly-blended proportions of the smokey onion tang.

History: The official dessert of the bourgeoisie since roman times, has long since worked its way into the modern class with caramelized onions and français-spécial meat broths.

Best place to get: Les Philosophes: 28 rue Vieille du Temple, Paris

# 3 Bouillabaisse

The word ‘bouillabaisse’ is a string of bolhir(to boil) and abaissar(to simmer)

Marseille, the seafood paradise makes home to this stew, made by simmering down spicy herbs, garlic and olive oil with Mediterranean bony fish(most preferred). Bouillabaisse is at its best when served with cheese laden rouille and cayenne pepper.

History: Started being made with fishes that weren’t selling in the markets, this quintessential Provençal cuisine originated as a main dish for coastal side fishermen.

Best place to get: Chez Fonfon: 140 Rue du Vallon des Auffes, 13007 Marseille

#2 Quiche Lorraine

Quiche: Cake / Lorraine: kingdom of Lothar

Quiche with its most delicious pastry crust filled with eggs and cheddar cheese is clearly a cult classic that has stood the test of time .

History: Wondering why it’s called quiche, which is German for cake? Note that it has its roots reaching back to the medieval German kingdom of Lothringen, and was given a french touch by the name change to Lorraine, when it gained popularity in France.

Best place to get: Le Voltigeur: 45 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004 Paris

#1 Mousse

Mousse translates to ‘froth’ in archaic French

Dessert in style with the mandatory French mousse. The French wash down their phenomenal wine-stricken food with mousse, whipped with cream and eggs until it gets a tempting foamy texture.

History: Chocolate rocked its way into France from Spain in 16th century, with the wedding of Louis XIII and the Spanish princess Anne. French chefs later on started experimenting with chocolate which was only taken as a hot beverage until then.

Best place to get: Ambassade d’Auvergne: 22 Rue du Grenier-Saint-Lazare, 75003 Paris

Stay tuned for many more gourmet guides to explore Europe! Meanwhile, Pickyourtrail to your favourite place in this list and escape off for a remarkable food journey!

Interesting read: 10 of the world’s most astonishing train rides

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