Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

French Dishes: What are Some Traditional Food in France?

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If you're looking to try your hand at making some classic French food it's important to know what they are. Many that we perceive to have been created in France (like pommes frites) actually weren't created here at all! So, what are some typical foods from France? 

France is home to many amazing culinary creations you can enjoy, like quiches and soufflés. Many baking and pastry classes in Paris often teach people how to make these because they are such an iconic part of the country's culture. However, these aren't the only ones. There are plenty of other ones that you should take note of, many of which aren't well-known but extremely tasty

what are some traditional food in france

Main Ingredients 

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When preparing or enjoying French recipes you'll find that most of them contain a few key ingredients which are what gives them their unique taste. Many staple ingredients in classic culinary works are things like cream, cheese, and butter. These are what give a sophisticated flavor and creamy texture to them, something you can't find in other world cuisines. 

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Traditional Food

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  • Quiche

A quiche features a fluffy puff pastry crust that's filled with a mixture of fresh eggs, milk, and Gruyère. Sometimes some might even feature vegetables or diced meat mixed into them. While it actually originated in Germany, France claimed it as one of its own and added its own iconic touches to it.

  • Bouillabaisse

This fish stew is very popular in Marseille, which is where it was first created by local fishermen. These fishermen longed for a seafood dinner they could enjoy and came up with this tasty combination of fish and spices in a warm broth. Bouillabaisse includes seafood, like the scorpion fish, from the Marseille coast and adds a delicious mixture of vegetables, spices, and pastis (an anise-flavored liqueur) to it.

This soup is actually supposed to be eaten in a certain way even though it's considered a stew. You're to first eat the warm broth that the seafood pieces and vegetables are soaking in before you dive into the larger pieces.

  • French Onion Soup

One popular food known worldwide is this one. This onion soup was created in Paris back in the 18th century. While the complete story behind its origins isn't known, it's thought that Louis XV created it when only a few ingredients, like onions and beef broth, were in his pantry. 

Today, it's well-known for its salty and mesmerizing mixture of beef broth, caramelized onions, and broiled Gruyère that floats on the top. 

  • Ratatouille

This colorful vegetable creation is believed to have been first made by poor Nice farmers who wanted a tasty vegetable arrangement to make with their summer harvest. Ratatouille features vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, pepper, and zucchini arranged nicely in a pan and drizzled with olive oil and herbs. 

  • Escargots

Most people would immediately point to this food when asked to name a classic meal. Escargots is a popular starter for lunch and dinner here that features land snails stuffed with garlic and butter inside their shells and cooked in the oven for a few minutes. The taste of escargots is very similar to clams soaked in butter.

  • Coquilles Saint-Jacques

Coquilles Saint-Jacques is such a historic dish in France that it has its own designated day to celebrate it, May 16th. Coquilles Saint-Jacques is unique as you're served a scallop still on its colorful shell but coated in a delicious sauce made up of butter, cream, Parmesan, and mushrooms. There are also some breadcrumbs sprinkled around it to add a crunchy texture to the sauce. 

  • Baked Camembert

Similar to Brie, Camembert is a soft cheese created in Normandy and is known for its slightly sweet flavor. Made from cow's milk, Camembert has a pale yellow tint to it and is known for being a somewhat healthy option thanks to its low-fat content. Baked Camembert is often put whole on a baking tray and into the oven for a few minutes so it slightly oozes from its tough shell. After melting in the oven, it can then be spread on a freshly made baguette. 

  • Soufflé

A quick look at this ancient French recipe and you wouldn't think it would be that difficult to make, but it is. This egg-based delicacy first created back in the 1700s is known for its delicious combination of flour, Parmesan, milk, and nutmeg that slowly rises up to create a puffy topping. However, one wrong move cooking this delicate creation and your soufflé will instantly pop. 

  • Tartiflette

This food was created in Savoy and features potatoes and onions covered in a gooey Reblochon and wine sauce. Sometimes diced ham is added to it as well to give it an extra burst of flavor. Many new twists on this tartiflette have been created throughout the years but its classic recipe gives it a taste like no other. 

  • Blanquette de Veau

Blanquette de veau (which translates to veal in white sauce) is a popular thing to eat in France. Made from scraps of roasted veal, it involves boiling the meat in water, salt, and onions before covering it in a luscious mushroom sauce and piles of rice. 

  • Oeufs en Meurette

Created in the region of Bourgogne, oeufs en meurette (eggs in red wine) is a sought-after dinner in France. Its poached eggs are covered in a deep red sauce that's flavored with bacon, onions, mushrooms, and rosemary. To help sop up the mouthwatering sauce from your plate, it is served with bread. 

  • Pain au Chocolat

While many of its meals are savory, France is also well-known for its desserts. Pain au chocolat is a delicious combination of a buttery yeast roll that's filled with a creamy chocolate sauce. Its popularity began in Paris during the 1800s and has become a staple for French breakfasts. If you travel to a bakery in this country you'll be sure to find this pastry for sale. 

There are plenty of classic French dishes you can enjoy making and devouring in your own home or when you travel to the country. The ones mentioned above are sure to help you immerse yourself in its culture and culinary history in a unique way. 

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

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