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25 Traditional French Dishes You Need to Try Once

25 Traditional French Dishes You Need to Try Once

France—the magical land of art, history, fashion and mighty fine foods. Living in France will make you slightly addicted to elaborate dishes, unusual combinations of ingredients and having a glass of wine during lunch. Whether you are planning a trip to France or practicing your culinary skills, you need to try these 25 traditional French dishes at once. Believe me, your life won’t stay the same!

1. Coquilles Saint-Jacques

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    You know nothing about how scallops taste till you’ve tried this dish! Poached in white wine, scallops are placed atop of mushroom pue in shell, then generously covered with another layer of delicious sauce.

    2. Salade Lyonnais

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      Quoting Stendhal, “I know of only one thing that you can do well in Lyon, and that’s eat.” Indeed, the local cuisine earned the city a proud title of French gastronomy capital. Start your gourmet adventure with this rich-flavored salad of curly lettuce, tomato, smoked bacon, egg and crunchy croutons all under insanely delicious vinegar-based dressing.

      3. Moules Marinières

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        Mussels are among the traditional foods you probably most associate with France. However, this dish originated in Belgium. The French popularized it and added a few spicy twists to the original recipes. There are numerous ways to cook and serve mussels. One of the best ways is to marinate them in white wine broth with parsley and shallots. Tastes great with a glass of chilled white in a terrace café at Montmartre.

        4. Coq au Vin Jaune

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          Traditional dish from the easternmost province, Franche-Comté. Soft Bresse chicken thighs cooked and served under wine sauce with morel mushrooms. Vin Jaune is a strong white wine with nutty aftertaste, made in the Jura wine region of Savagnin grapes.

           5. Soupe à L’oignon

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            Gooey, rich-flavored soup with a thick golden crust on top—the most delicious part of the dish! Meat broth is generously flavored with onions, grated cheese and crusty croutons. This recipe is really easy to cook at home and your guests would be more then merely impressed.

            6. Blanquette de Veau

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              There isn’t a more quintessentially French dish then this meat ragout. Delicate pieces of veal, soaked in crème fraîche sauce, often garnished with pilau rice, onions and mushrooms. Buy a bottle of red Bordeaux to accompany the meal.

              7. Socca 

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                Crusty chickpea pancakes popular all along the Ligurian Sea coast, and Nice in particular. Flat rounds of chickpea dough, sprinkled with olive oil and baked in oven or on a huge round pans. Seasoned with black pepper and eaten while still hot with the fingers. Often served with veggie or cheese filling.

                8. Steak Tartare

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                  Evoke your primal instincts and eat meat the way it is supposed to be eaten: raw. Beef is finely chopped, mixed with onions, seasoned well, and served with egg yolk and rye bread. You need extremely fine fresh meat to cook the dish at home.

                  9. Salade Comtoise 

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                    Iconic rustic salad from Franche-Comté of smoked Montbéliard sausage, Comté cheese, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, nuts, and crusty croutons—all served under a delicious seasoning. A fast and easy-to-cook lunch snack.

                    10. Ratatouille

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                      This dish is already world-famous after a Pixar movie, but I couldn’t help mentioning it anyway. Originating from Nice, ratatouille is made of onions, zucchini, garlic, eggplant, bell peppers, basil, or bay leaf and thyme with more Provençal herbs added as seasoning. Can be eaten as a side dish or main course at lunch, dinner or breakfast. I see nothing wrong with eating it thrice a day.

                      11. Piperade

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                        Piperade is very similar to ratatouille, traditionally cooked in the French Basque country. A ragout of red and green papers, tomatoes, onions and fresh eggs. Usually served as a garnish to meat and fish dishes. Spicy, rich-flavored, and pretty easy to cook at home.

                        12. Pan Bagnat

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                          Another insanely tasty food specialty from Nice. A circle round of pain de campagne is generously filled with Salade Niçoise of raw vegetables, eggs, anchovies and/or tuna, seasoned with olive oil. Classy and easy-to-make snack that should be on your healthy lunch menu.

                          13. Cassoulet

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                            Cassoulet is one of those warm, comforting foods to cheer you up after an exhausting day. White beans and duck (also pork sausages, goose, or mutton) slowly stewed in big round pan. The dish originates from Southern France and is incredibly popular in Toulouse, Carcassonne, and Castelnaudary. The last claim to be the first to cook this magnificent, rich-flavored meal. If you are absolutely into casseroles, you should check these 11 recipes!

                            14. Bouillabaisse

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                              Fragrant stew from the city of Marseille. Traditionally, made with at least three kinds of fish: red rascasse, sea robin, and European conger. Bouillabaisse can also include gilt-head bream, monkfish, mullet, or European hake. French chefs add a variety of shells and other seafood like mussels, crabs, small octopuses and more. Everything’s seasoned with Provençal herbs and served hot in a pot. The dish may not be easy to cook, but definitely worth all the efforts.

                              15. Escargots

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                                The most traditional of all French appetizers to be eaten with a glass of fine white wine. Specially bred land snails cooked with tasty garlic butter and parsley, wine sauce and sometimes chicken stock.

                                16. Confit de Canard

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                                  Crispy duck legs, salted and then cooked in their own fat. Warm comforting dish originating from Gascony region takes up to a few days to cook as the meat should to be marinated in salt, garlic and herbs for 36 hours to taste best. That is one of the 7 main secrets of the French kitchen.

                                  17. Gratin Dauphinois

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                                    Gratin Dauphinois is one of the most authentic French dishes that you can easily cook home. Potatoes are thinly sliced and covered with crème fraîche, add some butter and a clove of garlic, et voilà—your dinner’s  ready. Variations include adding cheese.

                                    18. Soupe au Pistou

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                                      My favorite Provençal dish, fragrant and flavorful. Made of summer vegetables, pasta and a French version of pesto—an appetizing mix of pounded garlic, olive oil, and basil.

                                      19. Oeufs en meurette 

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                                        Burgundy is famous not only for fine reds, but mighty good local cuisine, as well. Oeufs en meurette is a classic dish of poached eggs in divine meurette sauce: red wine mixed with onions and/or shallots, seasoned with thyme, parsley and bay leaf and mixed with a few drops of espagnole sauce. Sometimes mushrooms added to enrich the flavor. Served with toasted garlic bread and pieces of bacon.

                                        20. Baeckeoffe

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                                          Splendid Alsatian dish that can be literary translated as “baker’s oven”. Sliced potatoes, onions, a variety of meat (mutton, pork and beef) is left to marinate in white wine for the night, then seasoned with herbs, juniper berries and carrots. Back in the old days dames of Alsace started to cook it late Saturday, left the casserole at the nearest bakery to slow-cook during Sunday morning, and picked it up when returning from the church.

                                          21. Soupe de Poisson à la Rouille

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                                            Traditional fishermen’s soup born in Marseille. You can use any type of fish for the soup as the secret of the dish is “rouille”—a clump of garlicky and saffrony mayonnaise placed on top.

                                            22. Quiche Lorraine

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                                              The classiest savory pie of all time. Quiche Lorraine is a perfect lunch snack and an excellent dinner dish as it’s pretty simple to cook. Mix up the buttery dough, add smoky bacon or lardon and cover it all in cheese.

                                              23. Pissaladière

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                                                Maybe you think Italy is pizza-lovers’ mecca, yet France has a few seriously great pizzas of its own! Pissaladière—a thin crusty layer of dough covered with anchovies, onions and olive, served on nearly every corner in the South. Enjoy it with a glass of local rosé.

                                                24. Tarte flambée

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                                                  Another incredibly delicious pizza originating from Alsace. Thick layer of crème fraîche, bacon and onions, all baked in an open oven till the crust is crunchy. Pair it with a glass of white Riesling or glass of cold beer.

                                                  25. Quenelles de brochet 

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                                                    You haven’t been to Lyon unless you’ve eaten at least one portion of pike quenelles. The fish is mixed with breadcrumbs and generously coated with cream sauce. You many need some practice if you plan to cook the dish at home, but it’s all worth it.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Erik Totten via flickr.com

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                                                    Elena Prokopets

                                                    Freelance Writer

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                                                    Last Updated on August 12, 2019

                                                    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                                                    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                                                    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                                                    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                                                    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                                                    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

                                                    1. Nuts

                                                    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                                                    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                                                    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                                                    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                                                    2. Blueberries

                                                    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                                                    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                                                    3. Tomatoes

                                                    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                                                    4. Broccoli

                                                    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                                                    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                                                    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                                                    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                                                    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                                                    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                                                    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                                                    6. Soy

                                                    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                                                    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                                                    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                                                    7. Dark Chocolate

                                                    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                                                    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                                                    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                                                    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

                                                    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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                                                    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                                                    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                                                    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                                                    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                                                    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                                                    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                                                    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                                                    10. Gingko Biloba

                                                    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

                                                    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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                                                    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                                                    11. Green and Black Tea

                                                    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                                                    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                                                    Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                                                    12. Sage and Rosemary

                                                    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                                                    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                                                    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                                                    More About Boosting Brain Power

                                                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                                    Reference

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