In France, food is serious business, it’s not something to be trifled with. That goes for all age groups – and your little ones will understand why after you introduce them to just a few of these child-friendly French specialities.
If you decide to reside in France, you need to eat like they do, talk like they do, live like they do, and that means a compulsory visit to the markets on the weekend. The kids will love the fresh food, colourful displays, and lively atmosphere, and can be rewarded with the simplest, yet tastiest, of French lunches – fresh, warm French baguette and gooey camembert.
That combination of deliciousness is just a starter for their culinary adventure, as they delve into the wonderful world of French cuisine.
Oui, the most French of all French foods, this buttery, crescent-shaped pastry is the perfect start to the day. Usually dunked into a café au lait, it’s just as good just with butter and jam. There’s also its evil twin, the Pain Au Chocolate, which doesn’t need anything done to it – it’s devilishly good on its own.
2. French Toast or Pain Perdu
While we’re at petite dejeuner, this dish of stale bread dipped in egg and milk, shallow fried, and served with cinnamon may sound odd, but there’s a reason why it has been around for thousands of years – it tastes fantastic, and it’s a great use for those old bits of baguette!
Funnily enough, the recipe didn’t originate in France, that honour goes to the author of a collection of Latin recipes in a book called the Apicius circa 4CE – for more odd facts about France check out our true and false quiz.
3. Croque Monsieur
Croque Monsieur is basically a cheese and ham toasted sandwich in English speak, and its big sister, Croque Madame, chucks a fried egg in there for good measure.
These super thin pancakes are eaten any time of day, every day of the week, whatever the occasion, and there are no rules to what the fillings can be – although traditionally it’s ham and cheese, and Nutella is a popular option, so anything goes really.
5. French Onion Soup
Easy to make, and even easier to eat, this truly traditional soup of browned onions, with a crouton and melted cheese on top will go down a treat with even the fussiest of mini-me’s.
Frites, aka French fries, or chips, originated in France, although Belgium would beg to differ, and America probably thinks they were invented by McDonalds. Either way, what child doesn’t like these crisp fried chopped potatoes – especially when they’re served with garlic aioli a la Francaise!
7. Steak & Frites
You can’t go wrong here – it’s like a traditional steak and chips in England, but without the eggs, mushy peas, and be warned, asking for steak more than medium rare could risk you being hastily removed from any restaurant, or home, in France.
8. Nicoise Salad
If you have a pescetarian in your midst, or you’re just wanting the kids to top up their 5+ a day vegetable intake, this is a great dish. Traditionally it’s a salad of tuna, with beans, hard boiled eggs, anchovies, and olives, but of course there are also modern variations using chicken, salmon, or potatoes – all of which are tasty and healthy.
9. Dauphinoise Potatoes
Not so healthy, but ridiculously tasty, this dish is basically sliced potatoes, cream, and cheese, and what child doesn’t like that combo?!
10. Crème Brulee
Once they’ve cracked the top, they won’t be able to stop! This creamy vanilla pudding with caramelised sugar topping is popular with everyone for good reason – it’s a taste sensation.
Despite the rich diet of the French, they have a remarkably low incidence of coronary disease and other diet related ailments, which suggests they’ve got the balance right – so if you’re living in France, your kids will have a healthy head start compared to many of their Western counterparts. Learn how to order in perfect French or test your current level before jetting off!