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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

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.

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.


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.

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

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.


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.


13. King cake

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.


17. Quenelles of pike with lobster sauce

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.

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.