Alexandra Willingham is a CNN video journalist. She previously introduced us to the culinary delights of Key West.
For all Paris has to offer – history, scenery, romance – food is still a main claim to fame. While it would be impossible to list all of the delicious and varied French dishes you may come across, this a good starter for those lucky enough to visit the City of Lights.
1. French Onion Soup
French macarons consist of two light cookies hugging jam or crème fillings in a staggering array of flavors like pistachio and rose. They usually come in bite-sized portions, but you may come across le grande macaron, a larger version that is well worth the indulgence.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with other traditional French treats like chocolate mousse or crème brulee. If you’re in the mood for crepes, order one filled with Nutella. The hazelnut spread is known in the US, but enjoys a much heavier popularity in Europe. It’s delicious no matter where you eat it.
Visit a cheese shop - a fromagerie - and try a pungent Camembert or Roquefort or experience the creamy comfort of a simple white cheese or a soft, spreadable goat cheese. Each region of France boasts its own collection of cheeses in addition to the more famous ones, so if you travel outside Paris, be sure to give the regional specialty a try.
4. Foie Gras
Foie gras, which means “fat liver” in French, has been banned in many countries because of its controversial methods of manufacture. However, traditional feeding practices persist in France, and it is thought to be an important aspect of French heritage. Although often considered a rare and luxurious offering, foie gras is widely offered, fried, or served hot or cold. One Paris restaurant’s starting course features a foie gras sushi roll - certainly not for the faint of palate.
5. Food with a View
If big budget eats aren’t your thing, you’ll probably be just as happy sitting shoulder-to-shoulder outside one of Paris’ many cafes, watching the crowds go by. It may seem clichéd, but pick up a baguette from a boulangerie and a wheel of fresh cheese and roam about the city. You may be surprised how simple food, paired with great scenery, could be one of your favorite experiences.
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