If there’s one thing the French are proud of, it is their cuisine. The birth of the diverse French cuisine started in the middle-ages – the time of the aristocratic bourgeois and the working-class peasants, just before the French Revolution. Each of France’s regions that time has a distinctive cuisine which is acceptable to both classes. As history progressed and geographically speaking, these regional cuisines are destined to meet up in the middle of France which is in Paris.
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To give you a quick idea, the present-day Paris has at least 9,000 restaurants to choose from. It can be quite confusing to choose what to eat, especially if you’re a hungry traveler who wants to get a real taste of France. The only way to do this is to get down to the basics and know which dishes/food you should taste. So, here’s a list of the top 5 local dishes in Paris that you should eat when visiting la République Française!
1. The Croissant
The first on the list is the humble French croissant because it signifies what France is all about. This buttery, crescent-shaped bread is France’s answer to the American fast food. It is the main staple at every French bakeries and pattiseries and can be easily eaten with a fruit jam, a café-au-lait (milk coffee), or all on its own. Although it’s not a dish per se, there’s nothing more French than eating a hot, freshly-baked croissant right in the heart of Paris.
2. Anything that has Foie Gras on it
Whether pan-seared, roasted, or served cold as a smooth pâté, the fattened duck liver or Foie Gras as the French calls it is always a pleasure to eat. It has a velvety and melting texture in the palate which seems to delight and satisfy the taste buds. The Foie Gras can be flavored with fruits, liquors, caramelized onions, and vegetables. Furthermore, it is typically eaten with truffles, toasted bread, and a good glass of white wine to accentuate its flavor.
The French has a knack for turning what others may see as a slimy and slithering mollusk into a gourmet meal. The snails or Escargot in French is an appetizer, altogether with champignons or button mushrooms, generously seasoned with butter, garlic, parsley, and other herbs. Because it is always served piping hot, escargot dishes are usually eaten using a special tong to hold the shell and a tiny fork to remove the meat. The woodsy flavor of the escargot can be excellently complemented with a glass of an earthy-tasting Pinot Noir.
4. The Chateaubriand or Filet Mignon
The primest cuts of meat are usually handled with care; as if a delicate piece of art, ready to be enjoyed and appreciated by the senses. The same could be said with the Filet Mignon. This tender cut of prime steak is briskly seasoned with freshly ground black pepper or whole pepper corns, then pan-seared over high heat. It can be served bloody-rare, just-right medium-rare, or charred-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside well-done. Most restaurants will serve the Filet Mignon with a bérnaise sauce and sautéed vegetables and potatoes, a must try if you are in Paris!
5. Cuisses De Grenouille
Seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice then dipped in breading and eggs to be deep-fried in olive oil, frog legs are a commonly well-known gourmet delicacy in France. There’s nothing to be afraid of to try this high-protein, low-fat meat because it actually tastes a lot like chicken with a texture of a white fish. I highly suggest that you try some cuisses de grenouille accompanied by a dry white wine and be surprised at how complex its flavors can be!
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