Travelling to a foreign country opens up new experiences, sites, and tastes. I have encountered a few things in France that did not turn out as I had expected. Some turned out well and some did not. It was definitely a unique experience eating some of these French foods. Would you try them?
How About Eating These French Foods?
One summer, I was in Honfleur, in Normandy. It has a beautiful port and my friend and I wanted to have a seafood lunch at a café overlooking the port. I wanted escargot but they didn’t have them so the waitress suggested bulots. In French she stated they were snails, like escargots. I agreed to try them. Surely they’d be like escargots!
Maybe my French was lousy at the time because escargots I did NOT get. Bulots are French sea snails that are white and I recall they were in the shape of a spool of thread, like a cylinder. They were, however, VERY tough and served with a garlic mayonnaise (I think to hide the strong flavour). Maybe they weren’t cooked well. Regardless, they are not on my “favourite French foods” list. Some people love these French foods. Just not me.
[Sorry, no picture of the bulots. They give me nightmares! But Honfleur was beautiful.]
Le Pont l’Évêque Cheese
When I was in Normandy, there were so many great cheeses besides the popular Camembert, and Le Pont l’Évêque is one of the oldest Norman cheeses still around….and it smells like it’s been around a LONG time! It stinks. It REALLY stinks! (OK, connoisseurs would say it has a “pungent” aroma, but I say it “stinks”). So, would you take the chance and taste this cheese?
At Ecole des Trois Ponts, one of the hor d’oeuves we made was quails eggs with chives, butter and cream. It is not something I would have chosen to make or eat; however, this was a good opportunity to try something new. The quail’s egg was very small, served in a shot glass and eaten raw. What was it like? Like eating a raw egg. Sorry, no surprise.
Ecole des Trois Ponts website.
When I was in La Rouviere, renting a house in the south of France for the first time with my friend, Laurie, we decided to go out for dinner to a local restaurant that had a French-only menu. This was at a time when cell phones and quickly looking up translations online were not in available. We had the trusty French-English paper dictionary, which we carried around with us. There was “bavette de boeuf”. OK, I know “boeuf” is beef. But bavette? We looked up the word. The only translation given was “bib”. Hmmm. Order or not order?
I took a chance and ordered the “bavette”. What was it? Flank steak done in a red wine and shallots. No risk there. For years I never knew what I had really eaten. Not an unusual food; however, you may encounter a time where you have no translation for the food listed in front of you. Would you try it?
Steak or Salmon Tartare
Steak and salmon tartare are very popular in France and I have had both. At Le Foodist in Paris, we prepared the Salmon Tartare for our lunch and it was incredibly easy. It is basically raw salmon and seasonings. In this case we had the salmon on soya infused turnip and Yuzu Foam. Some people shy away from raw foods, but I must say, the flavour of raw steak or salmon is powerful…in a good way.
My experience at Le Foodist is in this post.
Which foods would you try?