Learning how to speak French is one thing, but eating there is another matter. In France they will eat pretty much every part of the animal, including the parts us Brits bin, what’s more they will call it a delicacy. Ahead of your next trip, we have picked eleven of the strangest dishes on the French menu for you to try if you are feeling adventurous! Bon appetite!
1. Langue de boeuf
This dish translates as tongue of cow and is exactly what it says on the tin. Seasoned with onion and herbs and then placed in a pot to boil, the skin is then removed and voila. If this is making you feel a little queasy, a top tip is to cut the tongue up before serving and you will never know (apparently).
Apparently the British love affair with eating rabbit ended when the nation fell in love with the film Watership Down, however lapin is a common dish in France, said to taste like chicken but stronger.
One word on the menu you might not be able to translate if you are still learning, when ordering ‘tetines’ you are actually eating cow udder.
Although most Londoners will hate these flying pests (especially when trying to eat outside in the summer), not many of us resort to eating them. In France however, pigeon breast is a common part of the nation’s cuisine.
When choosing this get ready to stomach, well, stomach. Tripe is the stomach lining of an animal edible in French specialities including tripe soup and stew, as well as Andouille – a French sausage that includes beef tripe and pigs intestines.
6. Steak Tartare
Do not expect standard steak and chips to be brought to the table when ordering this dish, or be alarmed when you are served raw meat. Tartare translates to ‘chopped’ and this raw or chopped steak is far less terrifying than it seems, said to have more of a sushi texture.
7. Foie Gras
A dish that is not so popular in the UK, this French speciality is made from the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened and force fed through a tube. If you can forget about that, Foie Gras is a must have delicacy in French cuisine, often served as an accompaniment with a mousse like texture.
8. Tête de Veau
Tête de Veau, or as we would say in English ‘beef brain’, is often used in French cooking. A speciality that can take between four and seven hours to prepare correctly, so needs the brains of a well trained chef to cook. (No pun intended).
9. Frogs Legs
Perhaps a better known delicacy, frogs legs are said to be rich in protein, omega 3 and potassium and taste like chicken.
10. Pigs trotters
You may gasp, but pig’s trotters are actually used around the world in cooking. We did warn you that no part of the animal is binned...
It may sound like a vegetable, but Escargot is cooked land snails, often used as an appetiser in France. In France the snails are usually removed from their shells, killed, cooked in chicken stock, garlic butter or wine and then placed back inside their shells for serving.
So get a little more French, master the language and go and try the cuisine. On the other hand, if you fancy learning how to cook up your own French storm in the kitchen, we have plenty of French cooking courses on offer too. Bonne chance!
Jane McGuire received her BA (English) from the University of Loughborough. A yoga enthusiast with a sweet tooth, in her spare time you will probably find Jane in the gym or online shopping.