Publié le by NmNomador
Gastronomic Tour de France: French regions and their culinary specialties
Living in a family environment is one of the many benefits of house-sitting
House-sitting can be an ideal opportunity to explore home cooking, quality local food markets and restaurants!
House-sitting is a great opportunity to cook regional recipes. Just dip into the host family’s cook books! After a trip down to the local market to buy what’s needed, you’ll be an expert in local specialties in no time!
But where do we start? The French gastronomic tradition is so vast! Why not try local dishes first? If you feel cordon bleu cooking is a step too high, then eat out to familiarize yourself with regional specialties!
Looking after a house in Alsace?
Choucroute (sauerkraut in German), the emblematic regional dish of cabbage fermented in white wine. In traditional recipes, it’s served up with local salt meats (sausages, bacon, ham).
Flammekueche, a traditional peasant-style baked pastry flan made from a finely rolled dough base richly garnished with sliced onions, cream and diced salt pork. Alsace’s answer to the pizza!
Baeckhoeffe, a stew of meats marinated in wine, tenderized by slow casserole cooking. Also known as “friendship stew”, as beef, pork and lamb pieces—each said to represent a different religion —simmer in peace in one big pot.
Looking after a house in Aquitaine?
Oysters from the Bassin d’Arcachon, sometimes accompanied by small grilled sausages.
Confit de canard or duck slow-cooked in its own fat, cooled and kept in jars (or tins) to make a preserve.
Looking after a house in Auvergne?
Cheese: Most famous are Cantal, Saint Nectaire, and Bleu d’Auvergne. Hence cheese-based dishes such as Aligot, a mouth-watering mash of potatoes, cottage cheese and garlic.
Aligot a dish of potatoes mashed with freshly set local cheese from the mountain pastures, known as tomme.
Salt meats such as dry saucisson and smoked or salt-cured ham.
Choux farci or stuffed cabbage.
Looking after a house in Burgundy?
Escargots or edible snails. A bit of a cliché, granted! And not everyone in France is a fan. But you really shouldn’t miss out on them when in the Burgundy region!
Kir white wine aperitif. Bourgogne aligoté, the local white wine, is poured over a thimbleful (or more!) of blackcurrant liqueur. Gabriel Boudier's Blackcurrant liquor is unrivaled!
Boeuf bourguignon, a classic of French cuisine, is made from beef chunks lovingly marinated in red wine and cooked up into a rich stew with bacon pieces and mushrooms.
World famous Burgundy wines come from the vineyards of Côte-de-Beaune, Chablis, Beaujolais, Côte-de-Nuits...
Cheeses: Don’t miss ultra-creamy Chaource, and Epoisses, whose strong smell is a barrier you must dare to cross, to savor its velvety texture and taste. Unforgettable.
Looking after a house In Brittany?
Oysters and seafood. The langoustines (small so-called Norway lobsters) are so fresh in the markets they try and crawl out of their baskets!
Crêpes or fine pancakes. Hardly a Breton town or village without its crêperie turning out sweet pancakes from wheat flour served with assorted jams. Alternatively, when made from buckwheat, they become substantial crepes noires or dark pancakes mouthwateringly rolled up with cheese, ham and all kinds of savory filling.
Salted butter said by Bretons to be vastly superior to their Normandy neighbors’ unsalted version.
Cider invented by Bretons, who dispute their Normandy neighbors’ claim to it!
Looking after a house in Languedoc Roussillon?
Cassoulet from Castelnaudary prepared from lingot white beans, pork or duck pieces, sausages and bacon chunks, all in an aromatic tomato sauce. There are almost as many recipes as households in the region.
Brandade from Nîmes. Potatoes and flaked cod blended into a smooth and succulent mash with olive oil.
Soupe de poissons or fish soup, fragrant with Mediterranean herbs and rouille, a mayonnaise whipped up with garlic and saffron.
Looking after a house in Midi-Pyrénées?
Tuffles aka black diamonds.
Goose and duck.
Cassoulet from the Toulouse region.
Garbure regional vegetable soup in the peasant tradition.
Roquefort blue cheese, tomme cheese from the foothills of the Pyrenees and exquisite brebis cheese from the milk of sheep grazing in lush mountain pastures.
Looking after a house in Nord Pas de Calais?
Moules-frites i.e. mussels and French fries.
Fricadelles small sausages made of mincemeat, sold from street-side stalls known as Baraques à frites.
Tarte au Maroilles baked cheese flan filled with Maroilles, one of Northern France’s most pungent to the nose but delightful-tasting cheeses.
Carbonade beef stewed in beer and brown sugar.
Waterzoï de poisson or diced fish flavoured with lemon served with velvety sauce gernished with seasonal vegetables.
Last but not least, the typical cheese of the Flanders region, Mimolette.
Looking after a house in Normandy?
Tarte Tatin, pie of apples cooked under a pastry top and turned upside down to serve on a pastry base under its topside of darkly caramelized fruit.
World famous cheeses such as Camembert and Pont l‘Evêque.
Cider that people from Normandy say they invented. Just don’t listen to those Bretons!
Butter which the Normans say is vastly better than anything produced by the Bretons...
Calvados, russet-colored spirit distilled from apple cider, valued at the end of a big meal, when shots go down between dessert courses (yes, more than one dessert!) to ease the digestion. The locals call this the "Trou normand" or Normandy pit shaft.
Looking after a house in Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur?
Bouillabaisse Provençal fish soup, served up with so much fish and seafood, it’s a meal in itself.
Ratatouille from Nice, a vegetable stew with vibrant colours and sunny flavours.
Aïoli. Fish served with potatoes, vegetables and garnished with aioli or mayonnaise whipped up with crushed garlic and olive oil.
Pan bagnat, the Mediterranean’s answer to the anemic white sliced bread sandwich! Thick golden slabs of crunchy bread stuffed to overflowing with pungent fillings.
Pissaladière the Provence pie with salted anchovy fillets and black olives.
Soupe au pistou, pistou being a mouthwatering mixture of crushed basil leaves and olive oil
Tapenade, a fragrant mixture of crushed olives that’s spread on toast as an accompaniment to drinks (aka aperitif) when the Mediterranean sun goes down.
Looking after a house in Rhône-Alpes?
Tartiflette from Haute-Savoie, Sliced potatoes grilled golden-brown on top, bubbling in a rich reblochon cheese sauce.
Raclette from Haute-Savoie, a savory delight, as baked potatoes and charcuterie (ham, salt pork, etc.) are dipped into irresistibly tempting molten cheese.
Gratin Dauphinois or oven-baked potato slices simmering in cream and cheese from the Alpine region of Isère.
Cuisses de grenouille or frog’s legs from Dombe.
Ravioles from Romans or mini ravioli fillef with fresh cheese.
Charcuterie or sausages, salt meats and saucisson of all kinds, cured and served à la Lyonnaise, i.e. from France’s second city and long time rival to Paris, particularly in the field of fine food (la gastronomie).