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Lucky you! You're a B on your way to a French bistro, café or fine dining experience, or, best of all, La Belle France herself! What can you expect? Loads of beneficials are available in French cuisine, constituting good reasons to find Gallic eateries in your vicinity.
As has become our habit, we'll first take a look at the French "staples".
Grains: Breads, noodles and pastries of wheat. Some rice, some buckwheat.
Fats: In the North: Butter; In the South: Olive Oil. Lard is also used.
"Fine" French food can be extraordinarily rich. I remember a number of great feasts, both in France and in top New York restaurants, that were "real occasions", but with long recovery times. Factor that in.
Meat: Lamb (leg of, rack of, saddle of, chops). Venison, in season. RABBIT!!! This is where to find those elusive benny meats, B's. Mutton, on location in France.
Seafood: Salmon, Sole, Mackerel, Sardines, Caviar...et al.
Dairy: Goat and sheep cheeses.
Oil: Olive (in the South)
Beans: Some Lima, in the North.
Vegetables: Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, horseradish, parsley, parsnips, beets, and, in the South, eggplant and bell peppers.
Meat: Beef, veal, squab, pheasant. On Tier One, pork sausages and bacon.
Fish: Scallops, escargot (on Tier One), Tuna, et al.
Dairy: Eggs. In the North: Butter. Many, many cheeses. Cream and crème fraîche (in sauces, soups, etc.)
Nuts/Seeds: Hazelnut (Tier One only), walnuts, almonds
Beans: White, green, flageolet, peas
Vegetables: Spinach, asparagus, zucchini (in South), winter squashes, celery, celeriac, turnips, leeks, endive, chicory, herbs
Fruit: Apple, pear, berries, currants, peaches, cherries
Condiments: mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard
Beverages: Wines. Beer (in North). Coffee, tea. Distilled spirits and fortified wines (Tier One)
Meat: Chicken, Chicken Stock, Goose, Duck, Quail.
Seafood: Snails (Tier Two), Anchovies, Mussels and other shellfish (bouillabaisse), frog, bass.
Dairy: Blue cheese
Grains: Buckwheat (in crepe flour)
Vegetables: Tomatoes, artichokes, olives, radishes
Lamb with no tomato saucing
Loin of Venison
Rabbit terrine à la moutarde (This may, indeed, be your main motivation for going to a French restaurant!)
Tier One Only: Choucroûte (pork sausages and cabbage), an Alsatian treat
Cheeses, especially goat, in omelets and quiches, salads, and on a cheeseboard, with wine-matches.
Fresh and beautiful vegetables: Favoring the Bennies, also sometimes puréed in soup/coulis.
Salads (including Niçoise, sans tomatoes and olives)
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