Local cheeses

It is said that when you’re in France, you can actually eat a different kind of cheese for each day of the year!

Indeed, France is responsible for bringing to the world some 350 to 400 (or even more!) varieties of cheese.

Cheeses from France are known for their superb flavor and texture. Brie, for instance, is a household name around the world, often dubbed as “Queen of Cheeses.” Defined by its sweet creamy taste and subtle nutty flavor, Brie’s history is traced as far back as the time of Charlemagne.

Another equally famous French cheese is Normandy’s pride, Camembert. It is also made from cow’s milk, like Brie, and best consumed in room temperature so that it achieves its creamy texture.

In the Midi Pyrenees region, the ewes feeding on Aveyron’s plateau are responsible for one of the world’s finest blue cheeses, Roquefort. This kind of cheese is made from ewe’s milk, cultured with a special fungus, and then left to mature in the natural dampness of the caves in the village.

Chouquettes

Chouquettes are a favorite snack item in France, very similar to cream puffs. It is a type of choux pastry – a light dough, which is used for desserts such as éclairs, churros and crullers.

What makes chouquettes special is that extra dash of sweetness given by the little chunks of sugar encrusted on top.

Hollow inside, this crispy pastry is the perfect way to stave off boredom between meals. It’s not filling, yet the taste fills you with enough gladness to tide you over the next sumptuous French meal that is due to come your way.

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse is a common dish in Provence, often enjoyed as a main course with a slice of bread or baguette on the side.

You may have heard of it from many French restaurants around the world but nothing beats tasting the bouillabaisse cooked using the fresh produce in the region.

The broth is made from a combination of tomatoes, onions and saffron. Herbs like thyme and sage are used to enhance the flavors of the fish, and oftentimes, shrimp and other shellfish.

Marseille is famous for its bouillabaisse, owing to the rich variety of seafood and herbs coming from the Mediterranean coastline.

Boudin Noir

Boudin noir is another product of France’s culinary traditions. Made from pork fat and pig’s blood, this black sausage is spiced up by seasonings and served with mashed potatoes.

Known around the world as blood sausage or black pudding, boudin noir has been a constant figure in Normandy, specifically for an old market town with a prowess for sausage-making.

In Morgagne-au-Perch, the Black Pudding Festival is held in March to showcase the work of hundreds of butchers who are masters of making boudin noir. If you find yourself in town during this occasion, you’re definitely in for a treat!

Apple Tart from Normandy

Fruits are a central part of traditional desserts in France. Tarte Normande, an apple tart, is a specialty of Normandy because of the abundance of apples in the region.

It’s created using sweet pastry dough with a filling of thinly sliced apples, cream and sliced almonds.

A popular way of preparing this pie laces the cream custard with an apple brandy called Calvados.

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