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Must eat foods for first timers in Paris?

So far I have:
-Baguettes, croissants, chocolatines and other pastries
-Foie gras
-Steak frites
-Croque monsieur ou madame
-Fleur de sel caramels or chocolates
-Quiche lorraine

What else am I missing for a quintessential french food experience during my stay?

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  1. Hot Chocolate at Steiger-Constantin on Rue Capucines, my first stop when unpacked. Mustard at Maille, the unpasteurized ones in the beer taps. Boudin Noir and pintade for main courses. Poitrine, the bacon that will make you cry, it is so good. There are some for a start.

    1. Just came back from my second time in Paris, and thought of just a few to add:

      macarons - as many flavors as possible
      pate, rilletes
      nice bloody rare "bleu" duck breast, lamb, etc.
      horsemeat - I didn't get to this

      1. imho, Quiche Lorraine is no great shakes in Paris.

        What is "chocolatine?"

        13 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          Pain au chocolat or chocolate croissant

          1. re: ChefJune

            Chocolatine is just another name for Pain Au Chocolat.

            1. re: wubai

              <Chocolatine is just another name for Pain Au Chocolat.>

              In whose language? I've been studying and teaching French cooking most of my life and never heard that term. Is that Canadian?

              Learn something new every day!

              1. re: ChefJune


                I'm from U.S., so maybe a French person can answer where the name Chocolatine comes from. But I first heard it from the pastry chef, when I was stageing in France.

                1. re: wubai

                  People in the southern part of France (read: below the Loire) have the ridiculous tendency to call "pains au chocolats" "chocolatines". They also say "poches" for "sacs" (plastic bags). Yes, they're that strange.

                  Should a southern French answer this question, (s)he'll say the exact opposite, of course. Which of course prove they're of bad faith!

                  1. re: olivierb

                    i used to live in bordeaux and everyone there called them chocolatines as well

                2. re: ChefJune

                  I was at a French party last night and I asked a group of 4-5 people about this word. All of them knew it as "pain au chocolat." One guy said it came from the West of France. But when I asked if I could walk into a boulangerie and ask for a "chocolatine" they were all extremely doubtful.

                  1. re: Cookingthebooks

                    It's exactly as Olivier says -- the other day at le Moulin de la Vierge I was yelled at for asking for a pain au chocolat. They don't have any, they said, that would be actual bread with chocolate inside. They did have chocolatine, which I, stupid Parisian, thought could be called "Pain au chocolat".

                    Cookingthebooks, you were at a party of northen French is all. And they tend to impose their language and politics to the whole country. Or at least hey have for the last 800 years.

                    1. re: souphie

                      Well, if YOU called it p au c, I don't feel stupid!

                      maybe I've never heard it called "Chocolatine" because I seldom order them. I'd rather have a plain croissant, or for a gussied-up one, almond.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        Seurre, on rue des Martyrs, makes my favourite pain au chocolat aux amandes.

                        1. re: souphie

                          Whatever you call them, eat them only in the morning, according to one of my Parisian friends. She said only children should eat viennoiseries (e.g., croissants and pains au chocolat) in the afternoon. I told her if the boulangerie was baking them fresh in the afternoon, I was eating them!

                          A year later she denied she ever told me not to eat pain au choc in the afternoon.

                3. re: wubai

                  Well, I am in Quebec and both terms are interchangeable. I don't know about regional differences in France.

                  1. re: hungryann

                    FYI, most places did call them pains au chocolat but in one bakery in Montmartre, they were labeled as chocolatines.

              2. Pierre Hermé macaroons...

                1. Oysters and other fruit de mer.

                    1. Mango-passionfruit caramels at Jacques Genin.

                      Try his made-to-order millefeuilles au chocolat, too, but NOT "to go". Must be eaten fresh in his café.

                      1. Butter. butter--especially Bordier butter (salted) use it as a condiment and sneak it home. Also Brie de Meaux if it is in season

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: faijay

                          I certainly endorse all of the above. But I believe that what the French do so well, that is not to be found in the USA, is their abiility to take humble animal parts that we generally toss (or use to make hot dogs) and creat tasty and inventive dishes. I'm talking about innards, of course. Not to be found in the typical tourist spots or Michelin starred restaurants. This is creativity at it's best. Having said that, I am not a good source due to familial conflicts. BTW, we can now buy French butter at our local store...superb, and pricey..

                        2. confit de canard! Oh how I miss it when not in Paris. At most good brasseries and bistrots you get this flavorful fatty duck leg served with potatoes pan fried crispy in the duck fat.

                          1. Depending on where you live in the U.S., some of the stuff on your list will be good but not dazzling in its French incarnation. A lot of cities have good baguettes now. Ditto for croissants, although the average U.S. version is too big, greasy and heavy. Frites (french fries) are not always better in France. Steak tends to be leaner and tougher, although often more flavorful. I'm not convinced that Croque Monsieur or Madame is better than a GOOD grilled cheese sandwich or panini. That said, well-aged farmstead or raw milk cheeses are amazing in both quality and variety. When it comes to charcuterie, there are only a few places in the U.S. that are better than even the average French store. Fleur de sel caramels and Foie Gras (the pure stuff, not the pate') - absolutely.

                            Crepes - try to get them from a Norman or Breton (Brittany) producer. The Buckwheat versions are terrific.

                            Two things that I would add because they are delicious and you rarely find them here:

                            Choucroute - this is one of the flagship dishes of Alsace, light years away from the typical dogs 'n kraut. Sauerkraut is rinsed and poached with a variety of meats in Alsatian white wine and juniper berries. Chez Jenny is (or used to be) a quintessential Alsatian grand brasserie for this dish in Paris.

                            Cream sauces - out of fashion in France and practically unobtainable here, there's a reason they were so popular in their day and when well made with creme fraiche and a little reduction they are worth the occasional splurge. Again, the Normans and Bretons are the major cream freaks but any old fashioned French restaurant can turn out a good one. Look for dishes labeled a la creme, or d'Auge (Norman style with cider or brandy) or blanquette.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: CMM

                              Thanks for your reply. I did have some good butter croissants in Paris but they didn't wow me as much as I thought they would. I guess I am also spoiled coming from Montreal. What I did find disappointing were the pains au chocolat; most of them had a more doughy/bread-like texture and I expected a flaky, buttery croissant filled with chocolate.

                            2. We don't get European quality big fat white asparagus in Toronto so I would suggest you try traditional white asparagus with hollandaise.