It’s not easy to define French cuisine, as every département and even city has its own specialities. Furthermore, each area’s terroir – that unique combination of soil and climate – contributes to its products. Perhaps the most well-known is Burgundy, renowned for its eponymous wines and, in turn, wine-braised dishes like boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin. This region is also the home of snails in various preparations, such as escargots à l’ail baked with herb-garlic butter.
Cheesy foods reign supreme in mountainous areas. Tartiflette savoyarde is a comforting dish of potatoes, bacon and onions, topped with Reblochon and baked until golden. Although fondue comes from Switzerland, les Savoyardes have made this communal meal their own with local cheeses and a dry white Savoie.
On three of France’s six sides is the ocean, thus it’s natural for seafood to play a starring role in French gastronomy. No holiday feast would be complete without oysters, the finest of which are raised in Brittany. Another popular bivalve is mussels, giving us classics such as moules à la marinière. The world knows bouillabaisse, the Provençal fish stew; for the real deal, make sure rascasse (red scorpionfish) is on the ingredients list.