Gastronomy

In Paris, gourmet cuisine is considered to be one of the high arts, and it is here that the greatest names of French gastronomic cooking are to be found.

Parisian cuisine is world famous and highly regarded. In some restaurants you will find the finest, freshest ingredients. Much of the produce sold in the city’s groceries and markets and appearing on restaurant menus is grown on the surrounding rich farmland.

Parisian cuisine is typical French cuisine at its best, and its diverse culinary heritage has turned some products into legends whose fame has spread far and wide. Baguettes, croissants, macaroons, Brie, steak with French fries – tourists cannot wait to try these world-famous dishes in a real French brasserie or a little “guinguette” on the banks of the river Marne.

Paris is famous for its ham – the region boasts numerous pig farms – while Houdan chickens, a well-known breed of poultry famed for its melt-in-the-mouth qualities, originated in an area to the west of Paris. Fans of red meat, meanwhile, will delight in the many local recipes based on beef, such as bœuf mironton, Henry 4th’s pot-au-feu, and calf’s head with vinaigrette. Or, for something a little less fancy, there is always garlic sausage, Houdan pâté and Parisian “boudin noir”, or black pudding. There’s even fish, as the Seine, with its freshwater basins, is home to eel and pike.

If you’re fond of cakes and pastries then you’re really spoilt for choice in Ile-de-France, with its many specialities: the famous Paris-Brest of course, but there’s also Saint-Honoré, Parisian Galette des Rois, Chouquettes de Paris, Brioche de Nanterre, Tarte Bourdaloue, Puits d’Amour, Opera Cake, Millefeuille and Flan Parisien, etc. As for confectionery, let’s not forget the boiled sweets from Moret-sur-Loing, rose sweets from Provins, chocolate from Meaux or poppy-flavoured sweet treats from Nemours.

Find out more about the “guinguettes” on the banks of the Marne

The story of the guinguettes goes back to when Paris’s workers spent their day off having “Sundays by the Water”, where they took part in a range of water-based activities, such as sailing, boating, swimming, diving competitions, rowing races, water-jousting and fishing, although they also enjoyed fairground games, skittles, French bowls and swings.

Mealtimes were a convivial affair, where home-style cooking – whitebait or fish stew, rabbit fricassée – was served with some red or white wine, after which it was time to waltz or polka the night away. People still go there every weekend to eat, sing and dance, just like before the war – and they still have just as much fun!

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