French Gastronomy per Regions 1/6 : The West

Hi there, let’s start a “Tour de France” of our cuisine and ingredients

Starting with Western France. 

You may have noticed but France shares boundaries with quite a few other European nations, history and invasions are factors that helped develop the varsity of French Cuisine all this reinforced with the former colonial Empire that brought us spices and yet more recipes.

We have three bases for our cuisine

  1. Butter and cream West, North, Center and East
  2. Olive Oil in the South East and some South West
  3. Duck fat South West

Now the region’s style delimitation is not strictly geographical per say, what we call the west is different from the West Coast of the USA it’s more of partially West Coast (the other part being South West). So we start from Normandy through Brittany down to just above Bordeaux

Local ingredients in cuisine

  • Butter (salted)
  • Cream 
  • Apple & Pears (cider)
  • Intestine and patés/rillettes
  • Seafood (Crab, Oysters, Mussels…)
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Kari Gosse (Brittany’s own curry powder) and Cinnamon

Historically Brittany is one of the major sea business knot, opened to traffic from the Atlantic and yet fairly close to Paris all its ports where developed for trading and without any surprise many spices first entered France through those, so Bretons were used to try these with their own local food and in the 19th century Mr Gosse recreated a mix of powdered spices into a Kari (Curry), it’s still locally used to cook many seafood dishes and especially Lobsters

Local drinks

  • Cider
  • Brandy (Cognac and eau de vie)
  • Loire Valley wines

And here are some very local dishes 

  • Escalope Normande (Turkey scallops with mushroom in a cider/cream sauce)
  • Tripes /andouille/ rillettes
  • Cidre (Rabbit cider stew)
  • Oyster, mussels, crab
  • Apple tarte (Tatin)
  • Boudin blanc with apples
  • Of course crêpes and galettes

Desserts or sweets

  • Crêpe of course
  • Tarte Tatin with fresh cream
  • Sablés (shortbread cookies with salted butter)
  • Salted butter caramel
salted butter caramel

As part of our introduction to French gastronomy our award wining Food Tours always contain some regional flavouring.

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