Traditional French foods

Where to start? Traditional French foods are as tricky to talk as there are many great dishes. France has always thrived from good agriculture and a strong culinary history. Exceptional regional food really varies from the north to the south.

French cooking is well documented and one starting point was with the key writings of Pierre La Varenne back in the mid-1600s. His very influential ‘Le Cuisinier Francois’ is still an essential source for all aspiring chefs!

If you have been fortunate enough to witness French cooking first hand, you will understand that a certain magic and mystery prevails in a French kitchen like no other!

French Onion Soup

When presented well, this is a marvellous thing, as it is both simple and elegant at the same time. One could say a great Onion soup is the ‘little black dress’ of the soup world. It works with nearly everything and is a great standard go-to food.

The onion soup we are elevating here is made with all the great flavours of France. It utilises a good beef stock, caramelised onions, toasted bread and soft gooey Gruyére cheese. Chic.

Escargot Sounds Better Than Snails

Still the butt of many a joke aimed to somehow belittle French food. The escargot is a fine delicacy that we were told to fear by a previous generation who were ignorant of the rustic merits of these tiny holders of flavour.

The main way to eat snails is to warm through the meat and apply copious amounts of parsley and garlic butter in a small elegant dish. It’s interesting to note that the most favoured snails are the Burgundy snail which is now a highly protected species.


Crepes as opposed to pancakes are made with such finesse that there is in fact, a day entirely devoted to the crepe in France to honour this sweet delight. This is a food that needs to be eaten in France and preferably from a Crêpery which will allow you to choose one of the incredible toppings. Some of the classics are crêpes Suzette which is caramelized sugar, a flambeed liquor like Grand Marnier and orange juice. Wow!


This is a dish that will not leave you disappointed. Cassoulet is a bean dish that combines white beans with confit of duck, pork and spicy sausage. This is typically cooked in an earthenware ‘cassole’ and can utilise what are the best of the region.

In this way, it is a great dish to adapt and cook with the best meats available to you. The same is true of the beans as there have always been some nice variations depending on the chef’s choice of local ingredients.

Tarte Tatin

Caramelized sugar, flaky pastry and steaming apples are the body and soul of this classic patisserie delight. One of the classic French desserts this is one of those items that needs to be ticked off from every serious gastro fan.

If you happen to be travelling in France then it is possibly best in the northern regions where the apples are in abundance. The legend of this tart is that when a certain Stephanie Tatin made a mistake with a conventional apple pie when busy in the kitchen she corrected her mistake and discovered to her delight a revolutionary apple dish!

Chocolate Soufflé

One final Fooddiez suggestion to end on a sweet note is the chocolate soufflé. Souffler in French means to ‘puff up' and this is precisely what this wonderfully rich dessert does. One description of a good soufflé describes the experience akin to biting into a cloud!

This is a must try dessert!