Whether you are traveling in France or another part of the world, the influence of French cuisine is unmistakable. From award-winning restaurants to famed patisseries, you would be hard pressed to travel the globe without encountering some aspect of this beloved cuisine.
Desserts are the pinnacle of French cuisine with painstaking effort and techniques that go into many of the sweets we devour on our travels. If you have not tried one of these three notably French desserts on your trips, definitely seek them out once you arrive in France!
This sublime dessert may have simple ingredients, but the perfect crème brulee requires technique and skill. While there’s conjecture the dessert is not entirely French in origin, it has become synonymous with French desserts.
The mixture of cream, egg yolk and sugar is topped with caramelized sugar that gives crème brulee its signature “crunch”. Vanilla is the most traditional flavor in the custard base, but as chefs continue to push culinary boundaries, it’s not uncommon to see a variety of fruits, liqueurs, tea, coffee, nuts, and even savory additions like black truffle.
The mille-feuille is a very traditional French pastry that may be commonly referred to as a Napoleon. Its name has taken on several meanings, including ‘thousand leaves’ and ‘cake of a thousand sheets.’
Typically, mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry and two layers of pastry cream. The toppings are where much of the variation comes in – powered sugar and glazed icing are two popular options.
If the mille-feuille is starting to sound similar to desserts you’ve had elsewhere in the world, you would be right. There are countless variations seen around the globe, even in unexpected spots like Chile and Iran.
These sugary-sweet meringue concoctions are one of the most difficult French desserts to perfect. Good macarons are characterized by the unique shape of the meringue biscuits. The perfect macaron has a smooth, squared top, with a “ruffled” circumference. Inside, it is filled with flavored ganache, buttercream, or jam. It’s also not uncommon to see savory macrons worked into high-end restaurant tasting menus.
The popularity of macarons extends worldwide with regional variations seen in different countries, including within France itself. Countries like Japan are known for featuring local ingredients, like green tea matcha powder, in their signature macarons.
Some people refer to a macaron as a macaroon in English, but most agree they are fundamentality different. Macaroons tend to be a coconut cookie, especially in North America.
Because there is such an art to perfecting the macaron, people tend to become very loyal to their favorite patissiere. From mistakes with the meringue biscuits to overpowering fillings, there is a lot that can go wrong with macarons. The best way to find your favorite one – sample them from different bakeries of course!
Do you have a favorite French dessert?