10 foods you have to try when you come to Bordeaux and the region
Guys, I am not a cook. My idea of preparing a meal is tossing some meat on the grill and cutting a couple of tomatoes for a salad. I know nothing about French cuisine and I honestly understand it less than a chemical equation. But, I love food (obviously) and when I came to Bordeaux I wanted to try everything. But I was super confused as I didn’t even know where to start. There are so many sauces, meats, styles of cooking, herbs, oils …. Oh, la, la… Well, to make it easy for you I found some of the best dishes and 10 foods you have to try when you come to Bordeaux and the region of Aquitaine.
This is a lovely, fresh salad from the region of Landes. It is the perfect beginning to any meal. The salad is a mix of hot and cold products. Warm duck breasts and gizzards are combined with a crisp salad, tomatoes, cucumber, apples, or asparagus. Everything is topped with pine nuts, chervil, parsley, and toasted and grilled bread croutons.
Crevettes blanches – Shrimps
Those special kinds of shrimps (special because they stay white even after they are cooked) are a beloved snack around these parts. Fished mostly from the Garonne they are a preferred aperitif as they go perfectly with a glass of cool, white wine. They are sometimes flavored with aniseed which I am not crazy about but they are still yummy.
Agneau de Pauillac – Lamb
This dish dates to the 13th century when it was probably created by shepherds from the Aquitaine and the Pyrenees regions. If you love lamb meat, I am sure you would love this recipe. The emphasis here falls on the protein and it calls for a specific kind of lamb meat (or rather a specific way the lamb was fed.) The tender meat is prepared with butter, garlic, herbs, and vegetables like carrots and artichoke.
Poisson à la Bordelaise – Fish
This is one of my favorite meals as it is simple but quite delicious. The recipe calls for a white fish like cod for example (you can never go wrong with it). The protein is coated with a tasty mix of breadcrumbs, garlic, and shallots, mixed with white wine and parsley. It is a hearty dish that will make the whole family happy.
Foie de veau à la Bordelaise – Veal liver with Bordeaux sauce
Another local specialty, prepared within the famous ‘Bordelais’ style. This dish is made with the classic sauce that originated in the region of Bordeaux. Honestly, any kind of meat would go with it, and I personally like to combine it with beef (though it might resemble another dish called boeuf bourguignon.) The special bordelaise souse is made from red wine (from Bordeaux of course), bone marrow, butter, shallots and sauce demi-glace (a rich, brown souse.) The veal liver is floured, fried and a piece from the famous Bayonne ham is added. In the end, everything is topped with the sauce.
Le confit de canard – Duck
This is something that is mostly done in the Southwest of France and originates from the French word confire which means literally “to preserve.’ This is the process of slowly cooking food in water or oil at a very low temperature for a very long period of time. We will concentrate on duck confit (though, it is called the same way when it comes to fruits) because this is something that the locals love and is often seen in restaurants. Now, keep in mind that confit de canard or Duck confit is known to be a spécialité of Gascony. In order to prepare this dish, the meat is rubbed with garlic, and salt then left in a fridge for 36 hours. After that, it is slowly cooked.
Lamproie à la Bordelaise
Lamprey, which I am still not sure what exactly is, let’s say something close to an eel-like fish is a very typical dish for the Aquitaine region. It is also very famous in Spain and Portugal. I realize it is not something, everyone would want to try, but I think you should give everything a go once in your lifetime. In the Middle Ages, the lamprey was eaten in pies, accompanied with a sauce made from the blood. You might think this has changed, but nope…. The blood is still used and is mixed with red wine as well.
Canelé de Bordeaux
If you are in Bordeaux, you love sweets and you have been to a patisserie you know what I am talking about. If not, let me tell you a little about those pretty, slices of rum-flavored goodness. The recipe for this dessert supposedly comes from the Couvent des Annonciades and was invented between the 15th or 18th century. It is basically a pastry with added rum and vanilla for flavor. The center is mushy and spongy and the outside is caramelized with a lovely golden color. They are baked in traditional fluted molds.
There is a fact for you. French people looooooveee their oysters. This dish is right up there with the foie gras for sure. One of the best places to get oyster though is around Arcachon. They seem to always be fresh which is essential for a good oyster experience. Eat them with some lemon. Simplicity here is the key.
Foie gras d’oie – goose liver
This might be the most famous thing in France and they have a lot of laws and regulations for the production of this dish. French people adore it and it is always a part of a fancy dinner or soiree. I would say that my favorite way to eat it is with some kind of a fruity flavor like jam and bread. I know it sounds weird, but it is good.