From St. Tropez to Marseille, these are the dishes that will definitely make your Instagram followers jealous.
No, it’s not just a cute animated childrens movie about — of all things — a rat who likes to cook. It’s actually a vegetable stew originally made by peasants in the South of France (particularly in Nice) when they didn’t want to waste a bunch of random ingredients. Ratatouille is tomato based, with zucchini, eggplant, onions, and a variety of spices, and it is slow cooked until the vegetables gain a smooth, creamy texture.
Like many of these dishes, socca is an example of Provence’s Mediterranean influences, both Italian and North African. Socca is a thin, unleavened pancake made from chickpea flour typically baked in a tinned copper plate as a street food in Marseille or Nice.
Whenever we travel to a new city, we are looking forward to trying its food specialties. That’s why I’m sharing with you my top 10 French food specialties you absolutely have to try in Paris!
The list of delightful French delicacies seems endless, so I’ve rounded up the top 10 for you. You’ve all heard about the delicious Parisian pastries, and of course the French wine and cheese don’t go unnoticed by the rest of the world, but just what are the best French specialties you can try in Paris? Read on to find out my top 10 French food specialties you absolutely have to try in Paris!
A trip to the sea: Huîtres
If you like seafood and mollusks, you have to try oysters in Paris. Parisians love to eat oysters. There’s a specific way to eat it. You open the oyster, put some lemon in it, and eat it right from its shell. I’m pretty sure you will love the experience! My advice would be for you to go to either the Saint-Germain area, or rue Montorgueil.
On the bustling Rue Montorgeuil, there’s a fish store called Soguisa. It’s a bit expensive, but they really have excellent oysters! Plus, the salesmen will give you the best advice about the way to properly eat their products! Soguisa is the main fish store in the Montorgueil neighborhood. All the residents of this neighborhood go there to buy fresh seafood and shellfish! [ . . . ]
Aside from wine sales, the French agricultural sector is struggling to compete with cheaper, more intensively-farmed goods from overseas—are French people finding it difficult to buy French food?
France is incredibly protective of its agricultural sector—it has been the sticking point between France and the U.S. in the negotiation of their new trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). President Donald Trump has been threatening to increase tariffs on French food as a result of France not agreeing to include the agricultural sector in the trading agreements (France wants only non-auto “industrial goods” included and specifically not meat, fruit or wine).
Part of the problem is that France is resistant to allowing food to be mass-produced or intensively farmed; it wants to preserve the traditional ways of farming, of which it is proud. This means though, that food is much cheaper when it is produced by farmers in other European countries who don’t adhere to as strict agricultural standards as the French.
Christiane Lambert, chairwoman of the French Farmers’ Union reported in The Times, that President Emmanuel Macron’s approach to agriculture was pricing French food out of the market. “He told us to go upmarket but in the first six months of this year we imported a lot more poultry from Poland and Germany because it is cheaper,” she said. It has come to the point when French people cannot afford to buy their own food.
The deficit to the French economy is about €300 million, but many believe it’s a worrying sign and a marker of the health of the agricultural sector in general—even French cheese is suffering as consumers are increasingly turning to cheese from Ireland or the Netherlands (the growth appears to be in more “industrially-produced” cheeses for pizza toppings).
The only part of the food and drinks sector which is buoyant is the alcohol industry, where sales of wine and cognac are still far outselling imports, notably due to a huge increase of sales in the U.S and China of French wine. The French government reported in May that this success might be masking a more dire warning for the French agricultural sector in general.
La Poule au Pot is a looker. It’s wonderful to walk in and witness the vintage wallpaper, the globe lighting, and the silver-plated serving chariot wheeling between Pepto-Bismol colored tables. It is at once a little elegant and also a touch cheesy. One can almost picture the 80s pop stars who used to slouch into these red banquettes, the mirrored pillars reflecting their manliner and sprayed hair. [ . . . ]
I am, by nature, suspicious of food cliches. I don’t think Grandma’s cooking was always better. Certainly, my grandmother’s wasn’t. She hadn’t met a packet she couldn’t open and regarded the notion that she should cook from scratch as a calculated insult. Likewise, the good old days were nowhere near as good as now: choice was limited, quality was poor and “abundance” was a word for spelling competitions, not a descriptive term to be applied to food stocks.
I have long bridled at the insistence that the food cultures of our European neighbours are so much better than ours. It ignores the realities of history. Yes, trying to find a good meal in Britain outside the home (and inside it, for that matter) immediately after the second world war was as tricky as finding an honest banker in London’s Square Mile. Then again, during that war we industrialised food production to help fight a war of national survival, losing purchase on both cookery traditions and kitchen skills.
It seems all it takes to soothe me is a good selection of cheeses and a recently picked fig
And what’s so good about those robust food cultures anyway? They tend to be inward-looking and small-minded. Two weeks in Tuscany sounds like a fabulous idea. Then the reality slides in, like ink seeping slowly across blotting paper: day after day of the same bloody pasta dishes, the same rustic salads and anything for dessert as long as it’s tira-sodding-misu or something “inventive” involving pears and almonds. By day five, what you wouldn’t do for a bit of Thai food doesn’t bear thinking about. We eat more widely and thrillingly in Britain specifically because of the weakness of our indigenous food culture [ . . . ]
Domaine Félines-Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France 2017 (£8.50, The Wine Society) Picpoul de Pinet is never going to come off well in a comparison with some of the bigger French wine hitters. The dry, unoaked white wine from the western end of the Languedoc isn’t the kind of thing anyone would buy to put in a cellar, or make a flashy fuss of ordering at a restaurant. The gap between the best and the worst examples isn’t especially wide: a friend in the trade likes to say it all comes from one big tank. And yet, all of the above is somehow part of its attraction. It’s there to do a job – match the seafood from the nearby Med and the Thau lagoon – without too much fuss. The picpoul grape variety’s natural acid nip and breeziness combining with lemon, touches of leafy herb and, in the impeccable production from Félines-Jourdan, a swell of stone-fruity richness.
Pierre Luneau-Papin Folle Blanche, Pays Nantais, France 2017 (£9.95, Joseph Barnes) The affinity with seafood has meant Picpoul de Pinet has inevitably drawn comparisons with the original French fruits de mer favourite made further north around the Loire estuary: Muscadet. For the most part, wines in this area are made from melon de bourgogne, and it is to the whites made from chardonnay in Burgundy’s Chablis that the locals prefer their wines to be compared. Certainly that’s a relevant point of departure with the family domaine Pierre Luneau Papin’s classically steely Domaine de Verger Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2016 (£12.99, Buon Vino). Curiously, however, the folle blanche takes us back to picpoul, the titular grape variety being a relation of the southern variety, although here making a much sharper but equally oyster-compatible dry white.
Château Lestrille Entre Deux Mers Blanc, Bordeaux, France 2017 (£12.12, Corking Wines) There’s a touch of the 1970s bistro wine list about muscadet. If you set that retro charm alongside its ability to stand in for chablis when smaller vintages in burgundy have led to shortages in supply, then you can begin to understand why muscadet has become a firm favourite for sommeliers working in some of the country’s trendier restaurants. The same hasn’t quite come to pass for another dry white favourite of yesteryear, Entre-Deux-Mers, although I have begun to see a few merchants giving this Bordeaux region’s brisk spin on the sauvignon blanc-led blend another chance. Château Lestrille’s version is super-clean and cleansing; Château Sainte-Marie Entre Deux Mers 2017 (£10.95, Great Western Wine) has a touch of custard-richness and tropical fruit to go with the zinginess.