There is such a French proverb: “bon repas doit commencer par la faim” which means a good meal should begin with hunger. But in France it is impossible to stay hungry, because the French, as the foremost people in the gastronomic sphere, see in their dishes not just “meal on a plate”, but a reflection of the history and culture of historical regions, and cooking is viewed as a separate art form. What places should definitely be noted in the gastronomic route in France and what meal should be included in the list of “must have”?
Foie gras is considered a luxury food product made of the liver of a duck. The famous French delicacy of fat duck liver is considered a gastronomic symbol of the regions of Alsace, Périgord, and Aquitaine. This sumptuous gourmet dish is served in a variety of variations: whole, raw, canned, in the form of mousse, parfait, a block of foie gras with slices, in the form of pate, etc. It is extremely important to choose a wine to pair with foie gras: young and sour species are absolutely inappropriate for this delicacy, but a good vintage Champagne, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay are ideal. Sweet wines like Sauternes may also work well as long as the level of sweetness does not interfere with the next course. Toasted foie gras and mousses are perfectly combined with semi-dry red wine.
If you are in Occitania, be sure to order an aligot. The texture of the dish looks like a fondue and is made from mashed potatoes mixed with butter, cream, chopped garlic, and traditional Tomme d’Auvergne cheese.
The traditionally called “ratatouille niçoise” was coined in Nice on the French Riviera and gained wide popularity throughout the Mediterranean as a light summer dish that can be enjoyed both hot and cold. Provencal vegetable stew is made from zucchini, sweet pepper, tomatoes, eggplants in extra-virgin olive oil with lots of spicy herbs. Again, a glass of red wine (Costière-de-Nîmes) or a rose (Château Peyrassol rosé AOP Côtes de Provence) perfectly emphasizes the sweetness of seasonal vegetables.
Raclette has a long history and has been mentioned in medieval writings of Swiss-German monasteries dating back to 1291, this nutritious dish was prepared by peasants in the mountainous region of Savoie (a historical territory divided between France, Italy, and Switzerland). The word “raclette” comes from the French word “to scrape.” Nowadays, raclette is cooked in special raclette pans instead of on hot rocks. The raclette wedge is attached to a swingarm and brought to the heat source. Once the cheese is soft, it is scraped onto potatoes. The dish is accompanied by a side dish of boiled potatoes, pickled vegetables or dark bread. Raclette is best served with wine such as Brouilly, Shardene Beaujolais or Côtes du Jura.
Burgundy is not only famous for Gustave Eiffel, Dijon mustard and burgundy snails, but also for Boeuf Bourguignon. Lean beef is cooked low and slow with plenty of onions, mushrooms, and red wine to create this classic French stew, Boeuf Bourguignon. Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or any other French red wine with a lot of tannins ideally accentuates the taste of tender and melting beef meat in your mouth.