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French Cuisine: Fun Facts about French Food for Kids

Al Fresco FranceBy Sunday World
Pâtisserie
Pâtisserie

When going on holiday with kids, parents often worry about eating, concerned that their kids won’t embrace the local cuisine.

Whilst French cuisine is universally celebrated as one of the finest in the world, there often seems to be something about dining a la Français that people are particularly nervous about, particularly those with children. The outdated concept of French food tends to be that it is garlic-heavy with a strong leaning towards unusual tastes such as snail and frogs-legs, and though l’escargot and garlic do feature on the menu, rest assured, there is a lot more to the wonderful world of French cooking than just this.

Here are just a few fun food-based facts about eating in France, designed to whet your appetite and to reassure you, even when travelling with the fussiest of eaters.

Kids love crepes, sweet and savoury

If you think you’ve tried pancakes before, then think again. French crepes are of an entirely different nature, light, airy and flavoursome, and more often than not filled with wonderfully family-friendly things. Of course, crepes filled with melted chocolate tend to go down well with most children, but for a tasty lunch, cheese filled crepes tend to be a popular choice, even for kids with a more discerning palate!

France is a nation of cheese-lovers

Impressively, the average French person consumes 25 kilos of cheese in a lifetime, making them the most prolific cheese eaters in the continent. The country currently produces over 300 different types of cheese, from smooth and creamy camembert to some supremely stinky blue cheeses, which guarantees that there’ll be something available to please the younger members of your family.

Croque Monsieurs are great for lunch

If you’re in the mood to tease your child, tell them that you’ll be eating Croque Monsieurs for lunch. Though the name suggests a rather exotic type of meal, the actual fact of the matter is that the much-loved Croque Monsieur is actually just a melted cheese and ham sandwich, and always sure to go down well with younger diners. If your child wants to vary the meal a little, Croque Monsieurs often come with additional extras such as mushrooms or tomatoes.

‘Let them eat cake’!

Of course, France is renowned for its delightful patisseries and cake shops, all selling the most delectable pastries, cakes and fondants. A national treasure is, of course, the chocolate éclair, a sublime concoction of light pastry, cream and chocolate; though kids will enjoy sampling their way through the other delicacies on offer, including the Tarte Aux Fruits (fruit tarts) and the more sophisticated Pain au Chocolat.

Breakfast croissants

The croissant is of course a popular breakfast in France, and makes for a tasty start to the day. Kids will be interested to learn that croissants actually originally came from Austria. They were shaped like a crescent moon due to the fact that the symbol of the Turkish army was a moon, whom the Austrians had defeated in battle. After the defeat, they created the pastries to symbolise literally ‘eating and crumbling’ their enemies!

Festive cake

If you happen to be staying in France around Christmas time then make sure to have a Galette des Rois (Royal cake). The cakes, which are traditionally made to symbolise the three wise men, conceal a trinket, and whoever discovers the trinket becomes ‘king’ or ‘queen’ for the day.

The ‘Roast-Beefs’

The somewhat unflattering name that the French have for the English is ‘Les Rosbifs’ (The Roast Beefs). However, that aside, a popular dish in France is Boeuf Bourgignon, a rich beef stew which often proves surprisingly popular with younger eaters.

Home to the world’s most expensive mushroom

A common mistake that many visitors to France make is to think that ‘a truffle’ is a type of chocolate. In France, a truffle, or ‘truffe’, is actually a fungus found underground. In spite of its earthy origins, it is considered a great delicacy and as a result, is one of the most expensive mushrooms in the world. However, children will be interested to know that truffles are often detected by the keen noses of dogs, or even more amusingly, pigs!

If these delicious food-themed facts have excited your taste-buds, then why not book a holiday to France today? The country provides a wonderfully varied location for a family break, with great beaches, beautiful countryside and some fascinating cities, including, of course, the epicentre for French cuisine itself; Paris.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next French holiday, then visit the Al Fresco Holidays website, to find out more about the regions of France and the great family-friendly campsites available.