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The many, many ways you can commit food sacrilege in France

The Local France
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The many, many ways you can commit food sacrilege in France
Photo: Katherine Lim/Flickr

There are so many ways you can offend the food gods in France.


One way to get on the wrong side of the French is to mess with their food and indeed wine. Here's a list of food sins to avoid if you want a happy life in la belle France.

1. Put an aged Beaufort cheese in your fondue.

This might appear controversial to those who always put Beaufort in their fondue and live by the principal the stronger the cheese the better the fondue, but apparently it's sacrilege. To understand more, read about the cheese lesson The Local editor received from his local Paris monger.

2. Ask for a well done steak

At best, you'll get a look from the waiter which says "typical" and at worst the chef will storm out of his kitchen and lecture you on why he refuses to over cook (kill) a piece of quality meat. Just order the chicken.

3. Put a 1989 bottle of Burgundy in your Boeuf Bourguignon

Pour a vintage Burgundy wine into your stew and cook it for four hours and you'll likely be deported. Use a cheap bottle.

4.  Ask for Ketchup

Unless you are having a burger with chips or you are under 11, Ketchup has no place anywhere near a dining table in France. Dijon mustard however...tuck in.

5. Cutting lettuce

Those lettuce leaves might be as big sheets of A4 paper but don't be cutting them to make it easier to get it in your mouth. Neatly fold them, over and over again, even it takes you 15 attempts. Then get it in there.

6. Cheese sins

There are so many cheese sins you can commit in France and they are not all related to fondue. For example don't cut the best bit off the brie (the narrow end of the wedge), don't leave your rinds on the cheese board and don't serve it with crackers (or beer). Make sure you have some red wine left. Don't serve it after the dessert. Nor with grapes and port. The list goes on. Here's a link to learn how to be on your best Briehaviour.

7. Bread sins

Don't put it on your plate during dinner. Don't butter it (unless it's for breakfast). Don't walk down the street nibbling the end...oh wait that is actually totally allowable.

Baguettiquette: Weird things the French do with bread

8. Beer with dinner

It's wine or water. So no Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, Irn Bru, Ginger Beer or normal beer with your Cassoulet.

9. Wine sins 

Here we go: Don't fill the glass to the top. Don't pour your own glass if you are guest. Don't mutilate the metal around the cork to open the bottle - neatly cut the very top off. Don't serve red wine with fish. Don't serve white wine with Boeuf Bourguignon and definitely don't serve a Bordeaux wine (Regional dish goes with regional wine! DON'T under any circumstances turn up with a bottle of Californian wine at a French dinner party. Here's a little more on the winefield in France.

10. Don't spread the foie gras

Leave it as a lump on your toast and get it straight in your mouth. It's not a pâté,as the French will say. Spreading it risks imprisonment in a French jail.

11. Buttering your croissant

Are you mad? It's made of butter! And don't even think of putting jam in there. Or peanut butter. Or bacon (although that sounds amazing).

12. Use an expensive Chablis to make a Kir 

It's just a waste to use a good wine for a Kir (popular aperitif made with wine and crème de cassis). And many people will be left upset.

13. Ask the waiter for the Coq au vin to come with no coq or and no vin

In other words don't start picking and choosing what you want. A dish is a dish. Unless you're allergic and likely to collapse in which case they will be more sympathetic to your dietary requirements.

14. Spray your hosts with crab shells

If you get served crab, you are going to need to fnd a way of opening it up without sending shrapnel all around the table because you don't want to put your host's eye out. And make sure you get all the meat out of those legs. Leaving good crab meat behind is a costly sacrilege.

15. Refuse food

If yo get served up pigs entrails, cow's tongue or calf's brain you arejust gonna have to get it down you. Granted, it's rare and your hosts will probably realise you have a sensitive stomach, but you will be given some weird and wonderful dishes in France and it's best to eat them.

READ ALSO: French food delicacies foeigners just can't stomach





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