France has long been renowned for its vast range of gastronomic delights. Interestingly, celebrated food writer Waverly Root divided France into three regions based on the cooking fat they use - butter rules in Paris, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Brittany and the alpine regions to the east; olive oil is mostly centred in the southern region of Provence plus Gascony and Basque; while lard is the order of the day when in Alcase and Lorraine.
The following guide by PPA properties, provider of magnificent rental villas in France, offers a key taste of the delectable food certain regions are most famous for.
Paris is a pinnacle of food sophistication-a foodie could spend months in this famous city without getting bored. The city is arranged in twenty â€˜arrondissements' spiralling from the centre, with each boasting its own specialities. A description of the food offered in France's stunning capitol could fill at least two guides, but as an overview, anyone visiting Paris must absolutely not miss the mouth-watering fare sold at bakeries and pastry shops, a classic French omelette at a cafÃ©, plus dinner at an haute cuisine and a nouvelle cuisine restaurant, of which there are hundreds.
Brittany and Normandy
The northwest region of France is abundant in apple orchards and rolling green cow pastures so rich delicious butter and cream is prevalent in the food, washed down with apple cider. Brittany stands out gastronomically for white bean dishes and crepes, which can be sweet or savoury to order. For example, you could have a buckwheat crepe stuffed with eggs, ham or cheese for your main course, followed by a lemon and sugar crepe for dessert. Normandy meanwhile is the place to go for superb Camembert cheese and Calvados apple brandy. Because of its extensive coastline, Normandy is also a prime location for seafood, particularly shellfish.
Burgundy and the Rhone
Central France is offers lush green rolling hills, with Burgundy and the Rhone famous for their outstanding wines. Burgundy also happens to have the most Michelin-starred restaurants outside Paris, and its town of Dijon produces world famous mustard. Two of the un-missable signature dishes of this region are Beef bourguignon (beef stewed in red wine), and the French delicacy of snails.
The French Alps
The eastern part of France is resplendent with mountain ranges and spas which attract vast numbers of tourists. Gastronomically, the region is famed for its range of cheeses made from goat, sheep and cow milk. Comte is arguably the most famous Alpine cheese, it has a delicious nutty flavour similar to Gruyere. Other cheeses of note are Reblochon (strong-tasting with a soft texture) and Vacherin Mont d’Or (soft in texture and often served warm as dessert).
Alsace and Lorraine
This region stands out for its German influence, with its signature dishes being Choucroute Garnie (pork and sausages cooked in sauerkraut) and Quiche Lorraine (egg quiche with bacon). Pork is popular, as is foie gras. Not forgetting those with a sweet tooth, the region boasts excellent pastries and jams that have German flair.
The south-east of France is influenced by the Mediterranean cooking of Italy. Garlic and olive oil are key in most dishes, while small piquant olives grown in Nice are famous, along with Salade Nicoise (lettuce, various vegetables and anchovies or tuna). Provence also offers wonderfully strong sauces, producing moth watering dishes such as Brandade (salted cod and olive oil mixed with bread or potatoes) and tapenade (finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil) mixed with olives and pistou (a type of French basil pesto).
Although just a â€˜taster', this guide demonstrates the wealth of superb food on offer in this fascinating country, not to mention the wine. If you're a true foodie, it's a good idea to choose magnificent rental villas in France so that you can visit a number of regions for a week each, in order to properly sample their mouth-watering delights.
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