Five Favorite Foods in France
Here's five of my favorites I instantly rush out and buy as soon as I arrive in France.
I seldom buy radishes at home because their flavor is too strong and sharp. More petite and oblong than American radishes, these beauties have a mild bite and a slight sweetness. French radishes liven up the most basic salad without overwhelming the tongue.
Mamie Nova yogurts and desserts
It's one of my many indulgences in France, but where else can you find rhubarb yogurt? Mamie Nova makes the tastiest yogurts as well as small containers of delectable desserts like salted butter caramel and one called Coeur de Liegeois, which is vanilla pudding mixed with salted butter caramel and topped with whipped cream. Mmm mmm good. And you can't beat the price!
This salad made from celery root is ubiquitous in France, yet hardly seen in the US. It’s the first thing I purchase when I arrive in France. You can buy it at any supermarket (supermarche), but I find the best tasting at Les Halles indoor farmer’s markets, a charcuterie (an upscale delicatessen) or a boucherie (butcher). Made with lemon juice, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, it’s both tangy and creamy on the tongue. Here's a classic recipe if you want to make it at home.
Spring in France is asparagus season. This was my first opportunity to try white asparagus. It has a more delicate flavor, sweeter with a hint of bitterness. The preparation is different from green asparagus. You peel the sides of the asparagus, then boil it in water, butter, lemon juice and salt along with the peelings. Depending on the region, it’s served with a hollandaise, béarnaise or mousseline sauce, or a simple vinaigrette. All these sauces can be whipped together quickly with easy to make powdered packets purchased at the supermarket, and they’re delicious.
This is my favorite pastry in France, but you'll only find it at boulangeries in Brittany. A kouign-amann (pronounced queen a-mahn) is a sweet Breton pastry made with layers and layers of thin buttery dough and sugar, then slowly baked until it caramelizes. It was originally made as a cake, but now it’s mostly sold as individual pastries. It's probably the most fat-filled, indulgent pastry in France, but also the most delicious.