Storified by ebanreb· Mon, Apr 01 2013 20:39:20
France is renowned throughout Europe and the world for its cuisine, and rightly so - French cuisine is generally considered one of the most refined and elegant in the world.
In French cuisine, there are some dishes which are considered national dishes, eaten throughout France, and others with specific regional origins. One common factor in all French dishes is an emphasis on good quality ingredients (especially local produce), and careful preparation.
Here are some popular French dishes:
- Bouillabaisse - A fish stew, originally from Marseille. Usually a variety of different fish and shellfish are used to prepare the soup, as well as celery, leeks, onions and tomatoes. The stew and the fish are usually served in separate bowls, with the stew poured over French bread seasoned with bread crumbs, olive oil and chili peppers ("rouille").
- French onion soup - A soup made from onions and beef broth, topped with cheese and croutons. According to legend the soup was invented by King Louis XV of France.
- Coq au vin - Chicken fricasseed with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and garlic. Traditionally, older roosters are used in the dish, as they contain more connective tissue resulting in a richer broth.
- Beef Bourguignon (French: Boeuf bourguignon) - Beef stew cooked in red wine, flavored with garlic and herbs, carrots, onions and lardons (bacon from the back fat of a pig), and then garnished with onions and mushrooms.
- Escargot - Land snails cooked with parsley butter - often served as an appetizer.
- Blanquette de veau - Veal, mushrooms and onions cooked in a thick cream sauce.
- Pot-au-feu - A spiced beef and vegetable stew. Typically carrots, celery, leeks, onions and turnips are used in the dish.
- Quiche Lorraine - A baked dish made with heavy cream, eggs and bacon (but traditionally no cheese) in a pastry crust. If onions are added, the dish is known as quiche Alsacienne.
- Andouillette - A traditional French sausage, from Lyon, Troyes or Cambrai. It may be eaten hot or cold, and has a very strong odor that some people consider very unpleasant, and is very much an acquired taste. Please note: The prepared version of andouillette sold in the United States is not the same!
- Crêpes - Thin pancakes made from wheat flour. Originally from Brittany (French: Bretagne), they come in both savory (crêpes salées) and sweet (crêpes sucrées) varieties.
- Chocolate mousse - A creamy dessert made from eggs and cream, and flavored with chocolate.
- Crème brûlée - A custard base, usually flavored with just vanilla, and topped with a hard layer of caramel made by burning sugar under a grill or other intense heat source.
- Éclair - A hollow baked pastry, allowed to cool, and then filled with pastry cream (crème pâtissière), custard or whipped cream, and then topped with chocolate or icing.