8 Oct 2017

MADAME EN VACANCES VIII: Tastes of France

When travelling, my philosophy is very simple: tasting local foods is as important as visiting "must see" points on the map. Moreover, skipping food in the context of France should be considered a crime! That's why the last post about my and my husband's vacation is all about the local French cuisine that we discovered and enjoyed!


During our trips we got accustomed trying local foods and beverages (previous experiences and recommendations can be found here and here), so I was beyond excited to taste traditional French meals. During our vacation, we ate various meals, both cooked at home and prepared at the restaurants. So, this is a list of the things that we have tried! 


Une Raclette



Although this dish is usually made during winter season, we got a chance to taste it in the middle of the summer! Prepared with special raclette cheese, this nourishing meal came from Switzerland and established itself in the French cookbooks. The cheese is baked in a special stone oven that is put on a table and when it melts it is poured over boiled potatoes. Ham and various greens are also added as side dishes. 


L'andouillette and Meat Pie



In Pérouges we went for a lunch to "Les Terrasses de Perouges" and ordered traditional Lyonnaise dishes. Well, at least I am 100% sure about my sausage made with... pork intestines. Although I am not a fan of foods that include guts, blood, etc., I decided to risk and try this one. My husband went with a much safer version of meat pie in a crust. Well, when my meal arrived, I ate it like a hero and tried not to think about what it is made of... Red wine sauce helped immensely, but the smell was still overpowering. Although I was happy that I tried andouillette, during the rest of our trip, not even once I thought about ordering it again.


Moules-frites and Les escargots


Mussels are one of my favorite things to eat, so I was beyond happy to try another dish with them! Prepared with white wine, onions, carrots and lemons mussels were accompanied by French fries and home-made mayonnaise sauce. If was incredibly tasty! Our second dish that evening included baked snails with butter and herbs. It was my first time ever eating these creatures and the saying that it tastes like a mushroom was confirmed. A very muscular mushroom. Still, I enjoyed eating snails too!


Blood Pudding and Beef Steak





One evening we went to traditional Lyonnaise restaurant called "Le Bouchon des filles" for a more fancy dinner experience. Our dinner consisted of three appetizers (lentil salad, smoked herring with carrots, and eggplant puree), main dish, cheese plate and a dessert. Everybody got this same starters and cheeses, you only  have to choose from about six options of main dishes and desserts. Since many of these dishes involved intestines and other organs, I chose the most safest option - Beef Stake with sauce. My husband went for a more extreme taste and ordered Blood Pudding with apple in a pie crust. What I have to say: since we were already full from starters, we ate our main dishes very (and I mean VERY) slowly, savoring every bite. My stake was indeed medium done and I enjoyed how mint sauce brought up the best qualities of the meat. Meanwhile, my husband tried and really liked the pudding, since both apple and pie crust eliminated the sweetness that came from the pudding itself. The cheese plate that came afterwards was filled three types of local fromages and washed down with recommended wine. Lastly came our desserts - lemon sorbet and passion fruit puree with whipped cream. We went out of the restaurant drunk not on wine, but on food! 


Meat Plate and French Fries



After we reached the top of Brevent, we stopped for a quick snack at "Le Panoramic". This place has such an incredible view that a stop at least for a cup of coffee is mandatory! We grabbed a bowl of French fries and a plate of selected meats. As for dessert, we ordered a cup of hot chocolate each. 


Other Snacks and Local Desserts



Galette de Pérouges is a very simple pastry, made of flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and lemon. It is sold in pastry shops and served as a dessert in local restaurants. Don't miss a chance to try one!


I already wrote about Valence and it's famous pastry called "The Swiss". Spiced with oranges this delicacy is indeed worth your attention!



Crème de Châtaigne is the most local taste of Ardèche. We bought a small container of this cream and enjoyed it in the morning with a fresh baguette




During our trip we ate lots and lots of ice cream. The best ones were of course from the local ice cream shops, usually hand made from natural ingredients. The best ones that we have tasted in France were in Vogüé town (middle picture), bought at a very small ice cream shop on the main steet ( I still remember the taste of my mint ice cream ball!). 


Our usual dinners consisted of local delicacies, be it dried sausages, various cheeses, or duck mousse, paired with freshly baked baguettes and, of course, various wines. We experimented with these products and tried both expensive and cheap ones (as you can see in the photo above), lastly we came to a conclusion that even the ones, sold at markets for 2€ are of much better quality than the expensive ones that we buy back at home.


So this post concludes my story about our vacation in France! 
Thank you for reading it! 



Photos © Vincas Razma

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