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21 French Foods Americans Need To Try At Least Once

How can you live your life without cassoulet?

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1. Cassoulet

This stew made of slow-booked beans, duck confit, and sausages is one of the most delicious dishes in the world and the best way to end a cold winter day. It breaks my heart, but I've yet to find a decent version of it in the U.S.
Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin / Flickr: ipalatin

This stew made of slow-booked beans, duck confit, and sausages is one of the most delicious dishes in the world and the best way to end a cold winter day. It breaks my heart, but I've yet to find a decent version of it in the U.S.

2. Oranais

Also called an apricot croissant in some parts of France, the Oranais is a flaky treat filled with custard and topped with two apricot halves.
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Also called an apricot croissant in some parts of France, the Oranais is a flaky treat filled with custard and topped with two apricot halves.

3. Chestnut jam

Chestnuts are a winter favorite in France, whether they're roasted or candied. Chestnut jam is one of the best exemples of how good the French are at using that nut to its full potential. It's excellent and goes well on crêpes and breads alike.
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Chestnuts are a winter favorite in France, whether they're roasted or candied. Chestnut jam is one of the best exemples of how good the French are at using that nut to its full potential. It's excellent and goes well on crêpes and breads alike.

4. Reblochon

Instagram: @frgaudry

Brie and Camembert are fine and all, but they're not the only French cheeses out there. France produces literally hundreds of different cheeses. I picked Reblochon, which is EXCELLENT, but I could have also chosen Bethmale, Beaufort, Brique, Fourme d'Ambert, Maroilles, etc.: all amazing cheeses that remain mostly unknown in the U.S.

5. Kouign Amann

The main ingredient of Kouign Amman, a pastry from Brittany, is butter. Butter on butter on butter. Also: sugar. It's not super healthy, but it's fucking delicious and everyone in the world should have access to it.
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The main ingredient of Kouign Amman, a pastry from Brittany, is butter. Butter on butter on butter. Also: sugar. It's not super healthy, but it's fucking delicious and everyone in the world should have access to it.

6. Pissaladière

Instagram: @sherriesavorsthecity

This is basically Provence's take on pizza, and it involves a lot of anchovies, onions, and olives. It's delicious!

7. Carambar

Carambar is a traditional caramel candy (although it now exists in many different flavors) that is famous both because it's a childhood classic and because there is a really lame joke inside each wrapper that everyone loves to laugh at.
Sylvain Naudin CC BY-SA / Via Flickr: naudinsylvain

Carambar is a traditional caramel candy (although it now exists in many different flavors) that is famous both because it's a childhood classic and because there is a really lame joke inside each wrapper that everyone loves to laugh at.

8. Pain viennois

This is basically a baguette MADE OF BRIOCHE. Yes, it really exists, and no, I don't know why America hasn't been blessed with these beauties yet.
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This is basically a baguette MADE OF BRIOCHE. Yes, it really exists, and no, I don't know why America hasn't been blessed with these beauties yet.

9. Rillettes

Instagram: @rsvnapa

Rillettes are the answer to the question: What would it look like if pâté were a spread? And it's the best and most amazing answer you could possibly imagine.

10. Calissons

This classic Provençal candy is made of one layer of soft melon and almond paste and one layer of crisp sugar icing. It's sooo good.
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This classic Provençal candy is made of one layer of soft melon and almond paste and one layer of crisp sugar icing. It's sooo good.

11. Aligot

The idea behind aligot is basically a shit ton of cheese melted into some mashed potatoes. You can't really go wrong with that.
Tavallai CC BY-ND / Via Flickr: tavallai

The idea behind aligot is basically a shit ton of cheese melted into some mashed potatoes. You can't really go wrong with that.

12. Fraises Tagada

The best fucking candy in the history of candy-making. Full stop.
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The best fucking candy in the history of candy-making. Full stop.

13. King cake

The French king cake is a delicious flaky pastry filled with almond dough. It's also one of the only things that make the month of January, when it's traditionally eaten, tolerable.
Steph Gray CC BY-SA / Via Flickr: lesteph

The French king cake is a delicious flaky pastry filled with almond dough. It's also one of the only things that make the month of January, when it's traditionally eaten, tolerable.

14. Flammekueche

Crème fraîche, onions, and bacon spread on a very thin crust: This Alsatian specialty may not be the healthiest, but it's definitely the tastiest.
Nicolas Winspeare CC BY / Via Flickr: nwinspeare

Crème fraîche, onions, and bacon spread on a very thin crust: This Alsatian specialty may not be the healthiest, but it's definitely the tastiest.

15. Cacolac

Cacolac is a cold milky chocolate drink that can bring any French person back to childhood.
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Cacolac is a cold milky chocolate drink that can bring any French person back to childhood.

16. A Saint Honoré

This perfect beautiful jewel is made with cream puffs, pastry cream, and whipped cream. What more do you need?
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This perfect beautiful jewel is made with cream puffs, pastry cream, and whipped cream. What more do you need?

17. Quenelles of pike with lobster sauce

Oh god, this dish is soooo good. SO GOOD. It's fluffy, light, and rich all at once, with a subtle pike flavor — all of this topped with lobster sauce. Seriously, get this in your life ASAP.
Jean-Marc ALBERT CC BY / Via Flickr: jeanmarcalbert

Oh god, this dish is soooo good. SO GOOD. It's fluffy, light, and rich all at once, with a subtle pike flavor — all of this topped with lobster sauce. Seriously, get this in your life ASAP.

18. Fish soup

There is no denying that America has GREAT fish soups, but it doesn't have French fish soup. And French fish soup, with its garlic croutons and saffron rouille, makes for an unforgettable culinary experience.
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There is no denying that America has GREAT fish soups, but it doesn't have French fish soup. And French fish soup, with its garlic croutons and saffron rouille, makes for an unforgettable culinary experience.

19. Saucisson

Sure, you can find salami and chorizo in America — and even saucisson in some specialized stores. But good luck finding a true dry saucisson, with its nutty aftertaste and meaty goodness. These are extremely rare on this side of the Atlantic, especially if you're on a budget.
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Sure, you can find salami and chorizo in America — and even saucisson in some specialized stores. But good luck finding a true dry saucisson, with its nutty aftertaste and meaty goodness. These are extremely rare on this side of the Atlantic, especially if you're on a budget.

20. Nounours à la guimauve

These little chocolate bears filled with French marshmallow goodness are everything you need in life.
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These little chocolate bears filled with French marshmallow goodness are everything you need in life.

21. And a real fucking baguette.

I've been living in the U.S. for over four years and still have yet to find a baguette as good as the one I use to buy at my local bakery back home. And believe me, I tried.
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I've been living in the U.S. for over four years and still have yet to find a baguette as good as the one I use to buy at my local bakery back home. And believe me, I tried.

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