Traditional French Food & Drink Guide

Your Guide to Traditional Food & Drink in France

traditional french food

French Flavours Unforked: Traditional Food in France

Taking a holiday in the French Alps? Great taste is on the menu.

It’s a place where the air is as fresh as the morning bread and the cows might as well be on the payroll, given how much they contribute to the local cuisine.

Here, the secret to mouth-watering dishes lies in the freshest ingredients, plucked straight from the Haute-Savoie’s mountains, lakes, and river valleys.

It’s a haven for scrumptious, farm-fresh meals that promise to charm your taste buds. In a special way that only the French can achieve, turning simple ingredients into amazing dishes.

What Are French Traditions for Food? 

In France, traditional meals often include staples like bread, cheese, and wine, with almost every meal featuring some form of these ingredients. 

The Classes of French Cuisine

French cuisine can be divided into a few styles:

  • Cuisine Bourgeoise: This includes French classics prepared for the wealthier classes with complex techniques and sauces, typically reserved for special occasions rather than everyday dining.
  • Cuisine du Terroir: Focused on regional dishes using fresh, local ingredients, this style is less elaborate than Bourgeoise and deeply rooted in peasant tradition, emphasising product quality.
  • Nouvelle Cuisine: Introduced in the 1970s by chefs like Jacques Pic and Paul Bocuse, this style aims for lighter sauces, fresh ingredients, smaller portions, and artful presentation.



What Are Some Traditional Food and Drinks in France?

Here's a taste of the traditional food and drink waiting for you in Chamonix, Morzine, Lake Annecy, La Clusaz, and Samoens during your holiday. Bon appétit!

Tartiflette | Raclette | Gratin de crozets | Fondue | Omble Chevalier | Baked Reblochon Cheese | Tarte aux myrtilles | Rosti | Galette des Rois | Farcement | Drinks


Tartiflette: Typical food of france

This dish combines potatoes, lardons, and onions that lay under a gooey layer of Reblochon cheese. Tartiflette has been keeping folks in Savoy delighted since it first popped up in a 1705 cookbook by François Massialot.

Today, it’s the go-to comfort food. There’s even some special twists on the classic tartflette, like croziflette, which uses pasta instead of potatoes, and morbiflette, which swaps Reblochon for Morbier cheese.



raclette: traditional food france

In the Haute-Savoie region, tucked away in the cosy corners of Annecy's eateries, you'll stumble upon Raclette - a cheese dish that gives Swiss versions a run for their money.

Sure, Switzerland gets all the glory for Raclette, but the Savoyards know how to throw their cheese into the ring too.

Back in the day, cow herders would melt it over a crackling open fire. Fast forward to now, where it's more of a DIY affair at your table, with the cheese politely pre-sliced into what the locals call 'coupelles'.

And what’s Raclette without its delicious entourage? It comes with bread, some charcuterie, a few spuds, and, of course, a glass (or who's counting?) of white wine.


Gratin de Crozets

traditional food drance

Gratin de crozets is a miniature pasta with plenty of cheese. Hailing from the Haute-Savoie region where they know a thing or two about comfort food.

Picture tiny squares of pasta, smaller than your average postage stamp, that have been hanging around since the 17th century.

These crozets re traditionally made from buckwheat but durum wheat is often used a popular substitute.

When used in gratin, they are combined with lots of cream and lardons, before being topped with cheese and baked in the oven.


Fondue Savoyarde

Fondue: Typical food of france

Fondue is all about melting cheese in a pot and dipping bread into it, a favourite in Chamonix's mountain restaurants.

Each place adds its own touch, but generally, it's a mix of cheeses like reblochon and gruyère, flavored with garlic and a dash of alcohol like white wine, thickened with flour. There are also spicy or veggie twists.

It’s the ultimate ‘dip-your-dinner’ experience straight from the heart of the Haute-Savoie region, putting a French twist on the Swiss classic.

This communal cheese pot features local cheese legends Beaufort, Comte, and Tomme de Savoie, melting together with a splash of white wine.

Gather around the table, skewer some crusty bread on your fork, and scoop up the cheesy goodness. But watch out for your bread! Local tradition warns that if it falls into the pot, you might have to buy the next round of drinks or give your dining companions a kiss.

Beyond cheese, there's also meat fondue where you cook your own meat in hot oil, and for something sweet, chocolate fondue where you dip fruits and marshmallows.


Diots au Vin Blanc

Diots, savory little pork sausages seasoned with a hint of salt, pepper, and sometimes nutmeg or garlic, are a meat lover's dream.

They can be eaten warm or cold, and are often paired with a tangy touch of Dijon mustard.

In Annecy, these tasty sausages are used in diots au vin blanc, a dish where they're lovingly simmered in white wine. Accompanying them on the plate are tender crozets (think bite-sized boiled potatoes) and a generous serving of buttered cabbage, making for a meal that's as hearty as it is delicious.


Omble Chevalier

Omble Chevalier - typical food of france

The Omble Chevalier is a freshwater fish that is part of the salmon family. It tastes very similar to trout and thrives in the cool alpine waters of alpine lakes such as Lac Annecy.

No wonder its a menu mainstay. Though it's usually grilled, when it's smoked (or "fumé"), it gets a unique and tasty flavour.


Baked Reblochon Cheese

Baked Reblochon Cheese traditional french food

Reblochon, a cheese made from raw cow's milk, boasts a white mold on its rind and a story that stretches back to the 14th century.

The name comes from a clever trick by farmers to pay less tax by pinching their cows’ udders again after the milk yield was measured. Produced mainly in the Thônes valley near Annecy, Reblochon has a rich, nutty flavour that shines in dishes like tartiflette - a hearty casserole of potatoes, bacon, and cheese.

Enjoy it baked alongside grilled sausages and boiled potatoes for a taste of local tradition.

La Clusaz is famous for hosting the Reblochon festival, a celebration of local talents, farming history, and, most importantly, Reblochon cheese.

Imagine watching cheese come to life in the afternoon and being among the first to taste it right off the press.

The festival is brimming with local traditions, including folk dancing, traditional bread baking, and a lively parade that weaves through the village. It's a fantastic way to immerse yourself in local culture and indulge in some incredible cheese.


Tarte aux Myrtilles

Tarte aux Myrtilles typical french dessert

Tarte aux myrtilles is the quintessential mountain dessert, featuring a generous helping of blueberries atop a crisp pastry.

These wild berries, picked from Alpine meadows in the late summer, make for a pie that's a slice of the great outdoors.

In Annecy, you might find these juicy berries in crepes or transformed into jam. Served by the slice in many cafes and restaurants, often with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream, this blueberry tart is the perfect sweet finish to a day of adventuring through the mountains.



Rosti traditional food france

Rosti is the hash brown's gourmet cousin. It’s a crispy, pan-fried potato cake that's a big deal in Switzerland, especially its Valais region.

Made from shredded potatoes and cooked to a perfect golden crunch, it's traditionally a farmer's breakfast but has found its way onto menus far and wide, including some spots in France.

The classic "Rosti Valaisanne" takes it up a notch with toppings of bacon, a fried egg, and cheese, usually accompanied by pickled gherkins and baby onions for a meal that's hearty, flavourful, and satisfying at any time of the day.


Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois traditional france food

January's the month where bakeries in Chamonix and across France fill up with a special cake known as the Galette des Rois, or Cake of Kings, complete with golden paper crowns and sometimes small charms for sale at the counter. 

This delightful tradition, dating back to the 14th century, has roots in ancient Roman festivities honoring Saturn and celebrating the return of longer days post-winter solstice.

‘The Epiphany’ on January 6th marks the occasion, commemorating the visit of the Kings to baby Jesus.



Farcement is a unique dish that blends both sweet and savoury flavours, using ingredients like bacon, onions, prunes, raisins, potatoes, and cream.

You mix these ingredients together (except the bacon), then line a mold with the bacon and add the mix.

This mold is cooked in boiling water for 3 to 4 hours until it sets like a cake. It's often made for Sunday lunch since it can cook slowly while the family is out.

While not common in most restaurants, you might find farcement in older, family-run spots known for traditional mountain food. It's a real treat if you come across it.


Most Common Drinks in France


France reigns supreme in the realm of wine, boasting regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne, where some of the world's finest wines are born.

With a reputation for quality, diversity, and complexity, French wines are the ultimate companions to meals or the star of any aperitif hour.


Mais oui, beer holds its own in France's drink scene, with local and international brews making waves.

French beer tends to be light and less bitter, perfect for sipping alongside a meal or quenching thirst on a scorching day. Pastis Pastis is the anise-flavoured delight loved across the sunny south of France. Served as a refreshing aperitif, it's a classic blend of flavours diluted with water and ice.


In Brittany and Normandy, cider reigns supreme, crafted from apples and sometimes pears. A zesty alternative to wine or beer, it's the perfect match for savoury dishes, bringing a touch of fruity refreshment to the table.


Ah, the French and their love affair with coffee. Espresso steals the spotlight, a beloved post-meal pick-me-up that fuels lively conversations and adds a dash of sophistication to any dining experience.


Enter Cognac, France's timeless brandy, renowned worldwide for its rich heritage and distinctive flavour. Crafted in the Cognac AOC region, it's a symbol of French elegance, best savoured after dinner or as a sophisticated aperitif.


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