When you think of France, first things that come to mind include things such as the Eiffel tower, romance, culture, and usually fine cuisine. As a recently married guy, we still have not decided on a honeymoon destination and it seems to change every few days. From South Africa to road trips across America and now some nice places in France. I know France is known for fine dining but I’m also aware that there are a few “interesting” menu items which don’t seem all that appetizing to the North American palate. I looked around and found a few note worthy items that I would like to share with our readers here. Whether you’re staying at some amazing hotels in Nice France or visiting a small cafe in Paris, here are a few items that you might want to check out….or perhaps avoid.
I am a pretty picky eater and texture is very important to me. It can be the most delicious food in the world, but if the texture doesn’t feel right while I chew it, it won’t be okay in my books. Yeah, I’m weird like that. This is why I don’t eat shrimp, lobster, and hot dogs (because of the texture). Below is a list of some interesting French dishes which may or may not make you gag.
I stay away from pork products so Boudin noir kind of freaks me out. Known as blood sausage, this particular purple sausage is full of pork and pig’s blood. I stay away from a rare steak so having meat and blood mixed in is probably a terrible idea for me. Other ingredients in this sausage include things such as onions, apples, lard, garlic, fatback, nutmeg, parsley, cream, egg, salt, and pepper which probably make it a bit more edible. When cooked, the blood congeals but needs the additional ingredients to bind itself and I’m sure the flavors probably help too. I can’t bash the dish as I’ve never had it and never will but it’s definitely on the “strange list” for me. Some say the dish is rich in flavor while others describe it in not such nice words. I suppose there is only one way to find out.
Snails! My little six-year old niece finds them in the garden and wants to keep them while over in France they want to toss them in a salad for some protein. Okay, maybe not in a salad. The snails are killed, removed from their shells, and then usually cooked in a garlic butter or parsley sauce. Chefs also cook escargot in wine or chicken stock depending on the type of dish. Again, I’ve never had such a dish but I imagine it to be very chewy and gummy. The only appetizing thing about this dish would be the various sauces it’s cooked in. But actually knowing you’re chewing on a snail might make it a bit difficult to swallow.
Crette de Coq
Also known as cock’s crest or cocks comb, is the crest on top of the roosters head and is sometimes used in French cuisine. Chefs use this part of the bird to add color to poultry dishes. Although used mainly as a garnish, you can also eat it but it most likely will involve lots of chewing. This fleshy part of the bird is usually boiled in chicken broth. It’s great that chefs are using various parts that most people would throwaway but you have to admit it’s a bit strange.
Oursin – Sea Urchin
I always thought that sea urchin was an Asian thing but the people of southern France enjoy this dish. I can compare this dish to chewing on a salty sponge. You can find people eating this “delicacy” on grilled bread.
Steak Tartare is probably the most appetizing item on this list. This dish consists of raw beef which is finely chopped and mixed with salt, pepper, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire. This combination is shaped into a ball and an indentation is made in the center where a raw eggs is cracked over it. Capers, mustard, chopped onions, and pickles also accompany this dish. The closest thing I’ve had to this dish is a Lebanese dish called Kibbeh which consists of raw meat, onions, and herbs spread over a plate and drizzled with olive oil and eaten with Lebanese flat bread. It may sound disgusting but it was quite delicious. For that reason, I can’t say anything bad about these strange French dishes because they might actually taste good despite its not so pretty description and ingredients.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever ate? Besides Kibbeh, the strangest thing I’ve consumed are rocky mountain oysters. Trust me, they’re not oysters!