Paris is known for many things, including the Eiffel Tower, romance, and cafes. But it’s also famous for its food. Here are a few bites you shouldn’t miss out on while you’re in Paris.
Macarons (also called French macaroons, not to be confused with coconut macaroons) are a sweet confection created with meringue cookies sandwiching a filling. Laduree, a French bakery famous for cookie sandwiches, popularized these sandwiches in Paris in the 1830s. It didn’t take long for the macaron to become a worldwide favourite. There’s even a day to celebrate it! While these tasty treats can be found just about anywhere these days, there’s something special about tasting them in the country where they originated.
This is a Parisian staple. In addition to being convenient and easy to eat on the go, they are also versatile and can be enjoyed on their own or as part of a sandwich. Marie Antoinette made the croissant popular in France. The story goes that she wanted the baker to reproduce her favourite treat from her hometown in Austria. In time, this treat became lighter and fluffier into what we know today as a croissant.
The rule of thumb is that a croissant is good if it doesn’t need anything extra. However, French people like to indulge in their weekend brunch and add jam or chocolate to their croissants.
Baguettes are also a staple of Parisian cuisine. In the 1920s, laws were in place that prohibited bakers from starting to bake until after 4:00 in the morning. These laws prevented them from having fresh bread in the mornings. In order to have freshly baked bread for the mornings, the bakers had to be creative and changed the bread’s shape into the baguette we know today. This allowed the bread to bake faster and made it possible for the dough to receive the maximum amount of exposed heat, which gives it that thick crust.
Since then, the baguette has been an iconic symbol of France. Similar to the croissant, it’s a great grab-and-go snack that can be enjoyed in lots of ways. One way people will enjoy a baguette is to cut it in half with butter and jam. It also pairs well with chocolat chaud, which is similar to hot chocolate.
In Paris, the butter, particularly the Le Beurre Bordier, is something you must try. Here are some of the differences between this butter and others:
They only use milk from local farmers who demonstrate the best farming practices. When making butter, they also take their time. Bordier waits 72 hours to use the milk once they get it from the cows, where the milk used to make a typical brick of butter is only left to sit 6 hours. The extra time allows the cream to develop its flavour. Even the butter is kneaded at a much slower speed.
It’s also unique because the butter is slightly different based on what season it is. The diet of cows greatly affects the quality of butter that they produce. As the cows graze on fresh grass in the summer, the butter is more yellow, smoother, and savoury. In the winter, butter tends to be lighter in colour due to the grass. Additionally, it tastes sweeter and is more brittle.
They also only produce butter on-demand, so you’ll always have fresh butter!
French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup is a comforting soup that has become widely popular. Despite not having a definitive origin story, it is widely believed in the 1800s that low-income workers would make French onion soup from leftover onions they sold to keep warm. The soup started with just beef broth and caramelized onions.
In the 1900s, restaurants began offering this dish. The recipe had expanded with the addition of baked bread with a layer of cheese crumbled on top. After that, the soup is baked until the cheese is golden and crisp.
In restaurants, it became more acceptable for everyone to eat, not just working and low-income families, and has now become a staple in French cuisine.
These were only a few must-try dishes to try in Paris, but it’s safe to say that there are many more to discover!
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