As I am currently on holiday in France with my French mademoiselle, I haven't been posting much lately. I'd rather relax and enjoy the holiday than be steeming away online, and so there probably won't be many updates from the journey. However, this was too good to let pass.
The other day, we went for a typical French family dinner out towhat is probably an average French restaurant in a town called Evreux in Normandie in the north of France. There was nothing extraordinary about the occasion, the place, the restaurant or the family (of my mademoiselle) that I went with. For an average Norwegian though, I'd say what we had to eat was quite extraordinary:
Stinky sausage / Andouillette
This was my main course. It is a sort of "sausage" made out of the intestines of pig. It has quite a strong, appaling smell, but just like stinky cheese tastes good, so does stinky sausage. I'd most certainly have it again. It is quite a heavy food, and goes well with red wine.
A close up look at the contents of Stinky sausage / Andouillette. Photo: Guttorm Flatabø.
Stinky sausage / Andouillette with mashed potato and a little salad. Photo: Guttorm Flatabø
Raw minced meat (steak tartare) / Tartare de Bœuf
This is probably the one course (perhaps in addition to snails) that you have tried yourself. I've had this many times before both in Norway, Italy and Denmark. It is quite a simple course of minced beef with minced onion, raw egg and capers. I am used to it all mixed together, but in France you get the choice of prepared (mixed) or unprepared (seen on the picture) which was the choice of my maiden.
Raw minced meat (beef tartar) / Tartare de Bœuf. Pickled cucumber on top, onion on the sides, capers below, and a raw egg yolk on top. Photo: Guttorm Flatabø
Frog legs / Cuisses de grenouille
You might have heard that the French are sometimes derogatorily called "frog eaters". Frog legs was my starter, it was both filling and delicious. A bit like a juicy chicken, or a firm white fish in texture, but all in all tasted what it had been cooking with/in.
Frog legs / Cuisses de grenouille. Photo: Guttorm Flatabø
Snails / Escargots
Snails is another typical French course that is often frowned upon. My French mademoiselle had it for starter. It also mostly tastes of what it is cooked in, in this case being butter pesto.
Snails / Escargots. Taken out of their house and drowned in butter pesto.
Bone marrow / L’os à moelle rôti
I had in fact already tasted both frog and snails before this meal, but the best starter, and quite likely the most nutritious was by far bone marrow. The father in the family had this for starter. I knew bone marrow from smaller bones in other courses, but here you are served some of the biggest bones available which are probably just discarded in most countries. Marrow is very fat, so if you like beef and bacon, marrow should be to your liking too.
Bone marrow / L’os à moelle rôti. These bones are almost the size of a fist in diameter.
Donkey balls / Œufs en couilles d'ânes
When presented with the menu I was told that one of the starters was "donkey balls", the testicals of a donkey, that is. Knowing all the previously presented courses I didn't find this very surprising, but as you can see from the photo, donkey balls are in fact just a creative way to name a dish made with poached eggs.
Donkey balls / Œufs en couilles d'ânes. Not very intimidating after all...
If you are interested, here is the menu. You'll need Google Translate, or somesuch if you do not master French.
PS: I hope this hasn't turned you off French food, because these are only the peculiar examples of maybe the top food culture of the world that also makes lots of delicious food that will please any palate.
PS2: The English names of the plates are my simple translations, you are not likely to be successfull if you ask for "stinky sausage" in a restaurant.