European Cuisines: France


There are so many fun things to learn about culinary cultures around the world. Dishes are deeply rooted in historical significance, geographical location, weather, traditions, etc. Learning to appreciate the story behind the foods of the world makes it that much more enjoyable to learn to create them yourself. While you’re learning the historical significance of dishes, you’re also bound to pick up traditional techniques that are used. This will enhance your ability to perform in any kitchen setting.

We have put together a list of the most popular cultural dishes for you to practice making. Laura Fenlon is a blogger who set out to create “four dishes from every region around the world.” She didn’t use exact recipes. She says “My modus operandi when cooking is to get an idea for a dish, open at least six tabs of different recipes in my computer, then pick the elements that I like best from each, or just make up bits and pieces entirely myself. I also don’t really measure much, just adding ingredients slowly until they look/taste right.”

We have provided recipes for you to try or you can look up your own and practice trying your hand at the general idea of the recipe—whatever creative avenue would be most fun for you.

Today’s spotlight country is France, one of the most popular and praised countries for their commitment to detail when it comes to their food. These are some of their most well know traditional menu items that don’t require trips to specialty stores for ingredients. Don’t be intimidated; jump in and give them a try.

Nicoise saladEuropean-Cuisines-France-Nicoise-salad

Named after the city of Nice, France, this salad has plenty of variations and debates on how to prepare or serve. You can read a brief history of it here.

Traditionally this salad is prepared with anchovies in it to add a salty pop of flavor. Depending on how you feel about anchovies, will help you decide how you choose to prepare the salad. For example, this recipe disguises the anchovies in the dressing. This recipe uses other briny ingredients instead of anchovies.

French Onion SoupEuropean-Cuisines-France-French-Onion-Soup

“The secrets to caramelizing onions are, as with many secrets to success in life, butter and patience. The lowest heat possible should be applied to the pot, and this will ensure the onions are soft and sweet, without needing to add any sugar whatsoever,” says Lauren.

Here is an Easy French Onion Soup recipe to try. Feel free to look up variations to find out what makes this dish stand out.


This dish also originated in Nice, France and was traditionally an inexpensive vegetarian stew that used common and easy to find ingredients.

Check out Lauren’s beautiful picture of her ratatouille. She says, “My good vegetarian friend and superb cook, who has seen the movie (Ratatouille) and liked it a lot, went to great pains long ago to source the original recipe from a fancy chef that Pixar based the cooking sequence on, and generously supplied me with it. I made a base of thick roast capsicum, tomato and garlic sauce, on top of which I layered slices of eggplant, zucchini and tomato, then baked the whole thing in the oven. I liked this recipe because the vegetables got a bit caramelized and crispy on top, which I imagine they wouldn’t in wetter, more stewy and stirred up versions of ratatouille.”

Here’s The Spruce Eat’s “stewy” version. They suggest using a quality French oil if you can.


This dish can be served savory or sweet.

In an article about Classic French Dishes For Beginners, The Spruce Eats said, “To start your French culinary soufflé experience, begin with this spinach soufflé recipe. It will take the mystery out of the dish and it’s surprisingly easy. The trick is to beat and mix the eggs carefully, as overdoing them will ruin the final result.”

Or you can try this Savory Cheese Soufflé.

Or try a Chocolate Soufflé from Sally’s Baking Addiction. She suggests to “Run a knife, icing spatula, or your thumb around the very top rim, creating a “channel” between the batter and the rim of your pan. Why? This forces the soufflé to rise UP without expanding OUT”.


“You don’t have to be an expert in French cooking to whip up these sandwich cookies. The crisp, chewy macarons take attention to detail, but they’re not hard to make—and they’re simply a delight, both for personal snacking and giving as gifts!” —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Try this Cookies and Cream Macaron recipe or this Hazelnut Macaron recipe. You can also look up fruity flavored macaroon recipes which add fun pops of color to the dessert.

As an added fun fact, macarons are believed to have been introduced to France by an Italian chef of queen Catherine de’ Medici. While the macaron’s popularity blew up throughout France, its origin actually dates back to the 8th century exclusive to Italy.