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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

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                                                    Last Updated on December 13, 2018

                                                    12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

                                                    12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

                                                    Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

                                                    A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

                                                    1. Eat Before Heading Out

                                                    First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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                                                    2. Select The Treats

                                                    Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

                                                    3. Avoid Skipping Meals

                                                    Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

                                                    4. Drink With Moderation

                                                    It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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                                                    5. Be Active

                                                    You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

                                                    6. Get Out Of The House

                                                    Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

                                                    7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

                                                    Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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                                                    8. Set Realistic Goals

                                                    You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

                                                    9. Enjoy Yourself

                                                    Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

                                                    10. Drink A Lot Of Water

                                                    This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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                                                    11. Eat Less And More Often

                                                    Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

                                                    12. Prioritize Your Workouts

                                                    Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

                                                    So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

                                                    Happy Holidays everyone!

                                                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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