It’s hardly a secret that we French love our food. Strong flavours, delicate presentation and food heritage runs in our blood. However, we do have a reputation for serving dishes that heavily feature meat. It may surprise you that we do love a meat-free dish too!
To lighten the culinary load, we’ve gathered a few French delicacies that don’t include meat, so browse, salivate and perhaps even get booking your next culinary adventure!
A steaming bowlful of sweet peppers, tomatoes and onions in a rich tomato sauce, with sauteed courgette and aubergine, laced with garlic and fresh basil, thyme or Herbes de Provence.
Ratatouille originated in Nice, in Provence, where fresh vegetables grow in abundance thanks to the good soil and beautiful sunshine.
Sample this traditional dish in its home town with a stay at our Provence Country Club in Isle sur la Sorgue in Provence’s glorious countryside. 7 nights starts from £229.
Simply, Gougères are little cheese puffs. Made with choux pastry and Comté, Gruyère or Emmantaler, these are painfully easy to make (the rumours about choux being a difficult pastry are nonsense!) and make for a fantastic and different apero snack.
Gougères originated in Tonnerre in Burgundy, where they are, to this day, served cold when wine tasting.
Breton Galette (Brittany)
Breton Galettes are crepes made with buckwheat flour, fried in butter and served with a huge array of flavours and fillings. They’re emblematic of Bretan cuisine, along with traditional Brittany cider.
Fillings are as varied as you like, commonly including cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms, topped off with a fried egg. They do usually include ham, but are easily available without. Sat outside with a cool cider or local beer, you can’t go far wrong.
Take a short hop over the Channel to the splendours of Brittany with a sojourn at our Residence les Terrasses de Pentrez.
Cannelés Bordelais (Aquitaine)
You’re probably aware of the delicious wine produced by Bordeaux, but the Aquitaine region is also famed for Canneés Bordelais. These tiny cakes are made with fresh vanilla and rum, encased in a caramelised crust.
For 8 cakes. Boil ½ litre of milk with the seeds of a pod of fresh vanilla and 50g of unsalted butter. Once boiled, take off the heat and allow to slightly cool. While that cools, mix 100g of plain flour, 250g sugar and 2 eggs. Slowly add the milk to the mix and beat quickly until a smooth paste. Be careful not to let the eggs curdle!
Let the dough rest for an hour, then add a cap of dark rum and stir again. Preheat oven to 250°C and butter a fluted mold well. Fill each mold half and cook for 5 minutes at 300°C then reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for one hour. Serve warm with freshly made coffee!
We have a selection of 9 properties in the Aquitaine region, with prices starting from £229 for 7 nights. Our closest property to Bordeaux is our Residence les Rives Marines – under an hour from Bordeaux.
Cheese Fondue / Raclette (Alps).
If you’ve ever been skiing, you’ll know how traditional Fondue and Raclette are a mountain staple. These communal dishes are synonymous with group eating and good humour.
Fondue is a mix of Emmental, Comté and Gruyère, dry white wine and garlic melted together to form a gooey, stringy, delicious bubbling pot of joy. Crowd round the dish and dip in bread, meat, vegetables and potatoes.
Raclette can be served two ways; the more traditional way is to cut a whole wheel of Raclette cheese and grill the open side. When it is duly melted, the molten cheese is scraped and drizzled over potatoes, meat, bread and vegetables or pickles on the plate. The more modern way of serving raclette is with a mini grill, for which each eater gets a tiny tray to grill their own cheese in.
Explore the great outdoors in the Alps at one of our chalets and apartments, with prices starting from £79 for a week!
Tarte Tatin (Loire)
The original Tarte Tatin was created in the 1800s by two sisters in the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beavron. Since then, France adopted it and merely perfected it. A sticky, sweet delicious combination of pastry, apples, butter and sugar, a slice of warm Tarte Tatin and ice cream or chantilly will take you to heaven and back in a single mouthful.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, this traditional dessert can also be made with cherry tomatoes as a light starter.
Help yourself to a slice of the Vendee region and dip your toes in the nearby Loire river, with a stay at one of our 6 Vendee properties; a week’s stay starts from £159.
Not a dish in itself, but Black Truffles are an absolute French delicacy and are definitely worth trying if you can get your hands on them! You’ll find them grated onto omelette, flavouring Foie Gras and shaved across salads, or stirred into risotto. Their nutty, musky flavour is very versatile, and is a bit of an acquired taste!
They grow around 5cm underground, close to the roots of oaks, hazel and cherry trees, and are harvested from November to March. In France, they grow in upper Provence, some regions in the Alps, Languedoc and Périgord.
Are you tempted to go on a culinary tour of France? There’s still time for a last-minute escape this summer with Madame Vacances!