If you’re travelling to France, Portugal or Spain and you’re not sure what food to choose, here’s a little guide to the main regional dishes.
The culinary specialities of France
France is very well known for its great cooking. Here’s some info about a few regions and their signature dishes.
If you’re on holiday in north-west France and you’re fond of pastries, you need to try the far breton, Brittany’s cake par excellence. Next door, Normandy is also well known for its Caen-style tripe, a dish that you’re sure to come across during your holiday.
And if you’re out-and-about in north-eastern France, then why not stop off at a little Burgundian restaurant to try a genuine beef bourguignon, which is made using the region’s famous red wine. Maybe you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth? Then the gâteau de ménage, a traditional speciality of the France-Comté region, will provide your taste buds with a real treat. You’ll love this unique pud, which lies somewhere between a cake and a flan.
And south-west France also has its fair share of culinary treasures. In the region of Aquitaine, come and try the canelé de Bordeaux, a delicious rum- and vanilla-flavoured cake. While passing through the Camargue region in Languedoc-Roussillon, gardiane de taureau is a bull meat-based dish that really will provide you with an indelible memory!
And to round off our tour of the regions, let’s stop off in the south-east to try the bouillabaisse, a fish-based dish that is typical of the Marseille region. Travelling on to Nice? Then pissaladière is the dish to head for. And following on from Marseille and Nice, don’t forget the Ardèche and its famous caillettes, which are little morsels of pork served in a dish of spinach. The specialities of Provence really awaken all the senses: a feast for the eyes with its colourful variations, and a feast for the taste buds with its amazing flavours.
The culinary specialities of Portugal
In Portugal, you’ll find a wide variety of different dishes, making its specialities hugely diverse.
Bacalhau (cod) is undoubtedly one of the most popular and familiar dishes from Portugal’s repertoire. As a fishcake called acra, in the oven, fried or grilled, there are lots of different ways to enjoy it! Really something you have to give a go when you’re here in Portugal.
And if you’re more of a meat-eater, there’s something for you here too! The Portuguese love dishes featuring pork, and you’ll very often find a wide range of choices, wherever you’re looking. The most famous of all is their suckling pig.
The people of Portugal are also very well-known for their love of desserts, and they have hundreds of different options, from cakes to tarts to mousses. Every town has its own speciality, and if you’re holidaying on the Algarve, you must try its most well-known pastry, the famously-crunchy almond tart.
You’ll find the range of colours and flavours of Portugal’s culinary specialities simply amazing!
Spain’s culinary specialities
Spain has a worldwide reputation for its fine food! You’re probably familiar with its traditional paella, tapas and chorizo. But you really have to be travelling there if you want to acquaint yourself with the real flavours of Spain. If cold meats are what you’re after, don’t miss the famously authentic flavours of jamon iberico or pata negra. Or perhaps fish is more your thing? If so, try the pescado frito, which is fish covered in flour and fried in oil. This Spanish speciality can be found all over the country.
If there is just one dish you need to try when staying in southern Spain it’s gazpacho, which is a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold. The perfect option for those hot summer days.
And how about a dessert to round things off? Crema catalana is a really nice choice. With its lemony flavours and its cinnamon flavour, it’s a real firework display in the mouth!
So set sail for France, Portugal or Spain and prepare your taste buds for a real festival of flavours!