Hailed as the epitome of culinary prestige, it’s hard to imagine that the refined French have a taste for anything other than their own local dishes, and that their menus only consist of dishes like beef borguignon or coq au vin, strictly cooked in a meticulous kitchen and served on a pristine table.
Trying to imagine a group of Frenchmen flipping burgers over a grill while watching a football game (big congratulations on the win, by the way), requires us to go against the indoctrination served to us by years of television.
Berets aside, the truth is that the French love grilling just as much as the rest of the world does. From lushgreen backyards to economical apartment balconies, it is an activity embraced on days off, an excuse to spend time with family and friends. While grilling is not as big in France as it is in America, they certainly love it enough to host an annual barbecue festival—the Championnat de France de Barbeque—at the village Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the capital of Camargue with a cosy population count of 2,500.
Though the cuts that go on the grill in France are not wildly different, you’ll often see local favorites like heavily spiced Merguez sausages, fresh catches hauled in from the body of water that surrounds France, and juicy cuts marinated with Dijon mustard and served with mushrooms that seem to be ever present in French dishes (like in our recipe for Beef Tenderloin Crusted with Dried Mushrooms). Served on the side is of course, baguette, a platter of French cheese and rosé—all which make appropriate gifts to bring if you’ve been invited as a guest.
If you’re not one to stray beyond basic proteins, you might be in for a bit of food adventure as the French have a taste for the unusual. Escargots de Bourgogne (snails), cuisses de grenouilles (frog legs) and ris de veau (calf pancreas) seared in flour and butter then tossed in mushrooms, are just a few to stir your appetite.