A Drool-Worthy Culinary Map of France
France is one of the undisputed food capitals of the world. After all, this is the country that has given us champagne, crepes and croque monsieurs.
One of the country's culinary secrets is its obsession with eating local. In comes this mouthwatering culinary map of France, which will show you exactly where to get go for your favorite foods.
Where Your Favorite French Foods Come From
From north to south, hit up these regions and cities for a grand foodie adventure.
You haven't had dijon mustard until you've had it in Dijon.
It's impossible to say there is one superior French cheese. But there is no denying that camembert is one of the country's most pleasing ones. Its creamy softness and flavorful taste have earned it a place in supermarkets around the planet.
The cheese is usually matured for about a month — just long enough to give it an intense flavor but not long enough to make it pungent. Originating from the region of Normandy, camembert is one of France's greatest treasures.
Champagne is one of the most ubiquitous alcoholic drinks on the planet. The queen bee of sparkling wine, many copycat bubblies try to imitate it, but none come close.
Hailing from the region of Champagne (of course), this product has a protected designation. This means that anything made outside of its namesake region cannot by law be called champagne.
The drink is made with a blend of grapes native to the region and fermented a second time while bottled. Yes, that hefty price tag is justified.
Paris: Croque Monsieur
For all the hate Parisians get from the rest of France, they've been responsible for heavenly inventions like the indulgent croque monsieur.
Now a brunch staple around the world, it consists of a ham and cheese sandwich topped with gruyere cheese and bechamel sauce, then baked to gooey perfection. There is a dispute among Le Bel Age, Le Trou dans le Mur and Café de la Paix over who first served the dish in 1910.
We're forever indebted to whoever made it.
If you've had a crepe in a touristy city in France, we're sorry to say you haven't really had crepes. Now popular in all four corners of the world, the sweet treat comes from the region of Brittany.
Traditional crepes are actually quite simple, with popular flavors including butter, lime and sugar, or fruit jams. They are also consumed in specialized restaurants that serve galettes, the savory version of the dish rather than as street food.
Of course, globalization works both ways so Nutella, strawberries and bananas have gained a place in the hearts of the French as toppings.
A pie stuffed with eggs, milk, cheese and lardon is the food of dreams. And you can thank France for it. Actually, you can thank the part of Germany that was annexed by France.
Made in the medieval German state of Lotharingia, quiche became irrevocably French when the region became Lorraine. Though there are several variations of the dish, there is no denying that quiche lorraine is the most famous (and most delicious) of them all.
Now part of the Grand Est region, Lorraine is also the place that gave us madeleines.
Since the Middle Ages, the city of Dijon has taken charge of mustard making in France. Located in the region of Burgundy, its namesake mustard came about in the mid-1800s, when a clever man ditched vinegar and used the juice of unripe grapes instead. This liquid, called verjuice, is acidic in nature and is what gives the mustard its wonderful kick.
The mustard is so beloved in France, that a 2022 shortage set the entire country into a crisis. To be fair, dijon is good enough to warrant it.
Other typical foods to try in gastronomic-forward Burgundy include escargots (snails) and coq au vin.
Fondue is technically Swiss, but it's really a dish that comes from the Alpine region of Europe. At one point, the distinction between the Swiss Alps and the French Alps was simply not there, so we'll also credit this amazingly delicious dish to the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
Although there are now different versions, traditional fondue mixes comte, emmental, gruyere and beaufort cheeses with garlic and white wine. The mix is then melted slowly in a specialized pot while slender tongs are used to dip bread in it.
If you ever go skiing in the Alps, plan to have at least one fondue night to get the full experience.
If at the end of a long day you enjoy pouring yourself a strong cognac, you'll love visiting the commune of Cognac. Like champagne or tequila, the drink has a protected designation of origin that came about when lower-quality products tried to sell themselves off as cognac.
Distilled from grapes and aged in oak casks, many say that cognac is an acquired taste. To the French, however, it's a source of great national pride.
Bordeaux: Bordeaux Wine
France has numerous famous wine regions, but Bordeaux is the largest and one of the most respected. Enjoying ideal grape-growing conditions, the city (and its surrounding region) enjoys an even more intense wine culture than elsewhere in the country.
Of course, you should visit the vineyards around it, but you'll easily get to do tastings within the city, which offers wine bars galore. While Red Bordeaux is the most prestigious style, the region also produces great whites and sweet wines.
When ratatouille became popularized around France in the 1930s, no one would've believed that a cartoon rat would make its name world famous. And yet, here we are.
Originating in the French Riviera city of Nice, the stewed vegetable dish includes tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, zucchini and eggplant.
The versatile dish can be eaten hot or cold depending on the weather and is very affordable — though we don't doubt some restaurants are charging a premium price to Pixar-loving tourists.
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