Guest post by Rob James
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he French have a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the best food in the world. Of any country, their food is probably the most renowned for its epic fare. Reasons for this range from the unusual dishes and delicacies that go into making French food adventurous (if not quite for everyone, in some cases) to its multi-Michelin starred restaurants. Even more impressive, however, are the ways in which the French can combine a seriousness about food with a love of McDonald’s, and some unusual approaches to food culture and the law.
When it comes to putting together some truly epic food, the French arguably have the rest of the world’s food beaten. Some of the best dishes push the definition of what can be served on a plate: escargot, which are typically baked in white wine and served with garlic butter is among the most classic. Rooster’s combs are also a popular stake of side dishes, while frog’s legs, corn fungus, and cazu marzu go into making some unique dishes.
If you move away from the more bizarre aspects of French cuisine, the delicacies available in France are consistently delicious. These include miniature puddings served with espressos in bistros, as well as chouquettes, or pastry balls. Moreover, everyone should have the chance to try French seafood, foie gras, truffles, and moules mariniere, as well as the nation’s famous cheeses.
If your budget allows it, a trip to Paris means that you can eat in Michelin starred restaurants that take fine dining to the highest level. Particularly distinguished places to visit include Restaurant Le Meurice, part of the Hotel Meurice, and home to vintage cooking techniques and rare produce. Other notable restaurants within Paris include Maceo, known for its vegetarian dishes and scallops marinated in seaweed oil; and the cassoulet-serving Thoumieux in the Left Bank. Some restaurants, such as Pierre Gagnaire, will limit their capacity to 45 guests, with an average cost per head of 100 Euros.
The appeal of French food also extends to a thriving bistro culture for lunchtime snacks, where you can take in coffee, meat dishes, stews, and pate en croute, as well as a wide range of cheeses and wines. French boulangeries are also difficult to match in terms of the freshness and the quality of their bread, while the seafood markets of the South of France are among the best in the world.
However, it’s perhaps the general attitude that the French take to their food that is truly epic – haute cuisine demands no shortcuts, and you know that if you’re prepared to branch out, you’re going to get a great experience in a French restaurant. There are a few unusual quirks to the French’s love of food, though. McDonald’s has been extremely successful for the past few years, partly as the result of adapting menus to feature more French dishes, cheese, fruit, and Royal Deluxe burgers, as well as adding more stylish decor. The French are also serious about how food can be used outside meals – Epoisse cheese is banned from public transport for its smell. Altogether, you can’t go wrong with investigating some of the most extreme and epic foods in France.
What are your favorite meals in France? Any restaurants you recommend?
Rob James is a well seasoned traveller who can be found enjoying south of France holidays. Rob loves to blog about the many different places he has visited, but his favourite locations can be found in Europe.