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And the favourite dish of French people is…?

With so many dishes to choose from it’s hard to believe the French have a favourite, but apparently they do and it’s a classic.

And the favourite dish of French people is...?
Photo: AFP

That’s right, boeuf bourguignon (or beef bourguignon as it is known among Anglos who prefer their beef to their boeuf), is France’s favourite dish, according to a survey by OpinionWay.

But the hearty stew that blends chunks of beef cooked in Burgundy wine, only won by one vote apparently, beating blanquette de veau or blanquette of veal into second place.

Blanquette de veau, sometimes referred to as in English simply as veal in a creme sauce has long been a favourite dish of the French people and apparently was a “a classic of Bourgeois cooking”. 

Both dishes scooped around 31 percent of the vote each from those questioned, while two other hearty dishes came in third and fourth place.

In third place came la choucroute, a dish popular in eastern France, made from pickled cabbage and sausages or other salted meats.

Finally in fourth place came cassoulet, a slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France containing meat of all kinds and white beans.

The four dishes were the ones who received the most votes in the first poll, in which those surveyed were simply asked to name their favourite dish.

In the second poll those questioned were asked to pick one of the four mentioned above.

Boeuf bourgignon and blanquette de veau were picked out by both young and old, women and men of all different social backgrounds, proving they have earned the right to be named the favourite dished of the French.

SEE ALSO: Top ten heartiest French dishes for winter

Is boeuf bourgignon your favourite French dish?

 

 

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FOOD & DRINK

Reader question: Exactly how many different types of cheese are there in France?

One thing everyone can agree on is that France has a lot of cheese - but exactly how many French fromages exist?

Reader question: Exactly how many different types of cheese are there in France?

Question: I often see a quote from Charles de Gaulle talking about ‘246 different types of cheese’, but other articles say there are 600 or even 1,000 different types of cheese and some people say there are just eight types – how many different cheeses are there in France?

A great question on a subject dear to French hearts – cheese.

But it’s one that doesn’t have a simple answer.

Charles de Gaulle did indeed famously say “How can anyone govern a country with 246 different types of cheese”, but even in 1962 when he uttered the exasperated phrase, it was probably an under-estimate.

READ ALSO 7 tips for buying cheese in France

The issue is how you define ‘different’ types of cheese, and unsurprisingly France has a complicated system for designating cheeses.

Let’s start with the eight – there are indeed eight cheese ‘families’ and all of France’s many cheeses can be categorised as one of;

  • Fresh cheese, such as cottage cheese or the soft white fromage blanc
  • Soft ripened cheese, such as Camembert or Brie
  • Soft ripened cheese with a washed rind, such as l’Epoisses or Pont l’Eveque
  • Unpasturised hard cheese such as Reblochon or saint Nectaire
  • Pasturised hard cheese such as Emmental or Comté
  • Blue cheese such as Roquefort 
  • Goat’s cheese
  • Melted or mixed cheese such as Cancaillot

But there are lots of different types of, for example, goat’s cheese.

And here’s where it gets complicated, for two reasons.

The first is that new varieties of cheese are constantly being invented by enterprising cheesemakers (including some which come about by accident, such as le confiné which was created in 2020).

The second is about labelling, geography and protected status.

France operates a system known as Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC or its European equivalent AOP) to designate food products that can only be made in a certain area.

As cheese is an artisan product, quite a lot of different cheese are covered by this – for example a blue sheep’s milk cheese is only Roquefort if it’s been aged in the caves in the village of Roquefort.

There are 63 listed AOC cheeses in France, but many more varieties that don’t have this protected status.

These include generic cheese types such as BabyBel and other cheeses that are foreign in origin but made in France (such as Emmental).

But sometimes there are both AOC and non-AOC versions of a single cheese – a good example of this is Camembert.

AOC Camembert must be made in Normandy by farmers who have to abide by strict rules covering location, milk type and even what their cows eat.

Factory-produced Camembert, however, doesn’t stick to these rules and therefore doesn’t have the AOC label. Is it therefore the same cheese? They’re both called Camembert but the artisan producers of Normandy will tell you – at some length if you let them – that their product is a totally different thing to the mass-produced offering.

There are also examples of local cheeses that are made to essentially the same recipe but have different names depending on where they are produced – sometimes even being on opposite sides of the same Alpine valley is enough to make it two nominally different cheeses.

All of which is to say that guessing is difficult!

Most estimates range from between 600 to 1,600, with cheese experts generally saying there are about 1,000 different varieties. 

So bonne dégustation!

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