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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 March 13, 2019

                                                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                                    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                                    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                                    1. Work on the small tasks.

                                                    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                                    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                                    2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                                    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                                    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                                                    3. Upgrade yourself

                                                    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                                    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                                    4. Talk to a friend.

                                                    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                                    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                                    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                                    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                                    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                                    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                                                    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                                    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                                    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                                    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                                    7. Read a book (or blog).

                                                    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                                    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                                    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                                    8. Have a quick nap.

                                                    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                                                    9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                                    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                                    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                                    10. Find some competition.

                                                    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                                    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                                    11. Go exercise.

                                                    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                                    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                                    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                                                    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                                    12. Take a good break.

                                                    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                                    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                                    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                                    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                                    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                                    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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