a taste of southern france

a taste of southern france
almost everyone has tried french food, but sometimes 
that’s like a foreigner saying they’ve tried “american food.”
you may have had some taste of a country’s food, but 
there are so many different styles, cultures and types of 
foods all around each country. think of the US: it’s 
not just burgers and fries! if you went to the south, 
you’d have an entirely new culinary experience of 
barbecue, mashed potatoes, cornbread, you get the 
picture. it’s the same way with france, although it’s a 
smaller country. i’ve always loved everything french, 
and who doesn’t love the classic french foods…
crepes, baguettes, CHEESE, croissants, chocolate, 
croque monsieurs, etc. but, there’s another side of
french dining in other parts of the country…

once i moved to france for my study abroad and traveled
to almost every part of the country, i realized there 
was an entirely different world of french cuisine that 
varies in each region. traveling through the south of 
france is one of my favorite memories (have to get back there 
with chase!!) and i loved the unique flair the food had there. 
it was more experimental, less set-in-its ways. much like
paris is amazing but classic, so is the food. the south of france
is a little more adventurous, and the food 
fits the beautiful area
so well. i love when an area’s food matches the feel of the place.

IMG_6493the south of france gives way for a lot of smaller plates 
with rich taste branching away from the basics. 
i never thought i’d experience this kind of food 
anywhere else outside of southern france, because 
it is so unique to the area and not as well-known. 

well, i was happily wrong when i discovered that aquitane 
was opened in san francisco by a southern frenchman 
who knew we needed a taste of his region. aquitane is a 
wine bar and bistro, and since we don’t drink, we enjoyed 
the food even more. but: note that the wine looks to 
be exceptionally paired with each dish. see the food below!
you truly step through the door off of the busy downtown
 street and into the south of france. this is a bustling, 
cozy restaurant packed with people enjoying small and 
large plates of the most delicious food. the setting is 
eclectic, fun, and lively, just like the region of france 
it is inspired from. they’ve done it just right. all of 
the food was so unique with incroyable flavor. 
it’s different than anything you’ve had before, and 
really branches away from typical french food.
house basque popcorn appetizer, served in a wooden 
shoe. already loved this place from the second this 
was placed in front of me. it’s popcorn tossed with 
tomato oil, browned butter, and pimet d’espelette. 
let’s just say they had to refill the wooden shoe for 
our table a few times :) sign of a good appetizer!
at almost any sidewalk cafe in paris you can see people 
eating the classic “moules et frites,” or mussels and 
french fries. i never cared for them, but i’m now a fan 
of mussels (never thought i’d say that) after trying these 
with tomatoes, pancetta, and seasonings. i thought i’d try 
to maybe get just one down, and before i knew it 
i had filled an entire plate with empty shells! 
we loved them paired with the frites as well.
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^^ don’t you think of southern france when 
you see these fresh, flavorful dishes? i do! 
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^^ we also were all shocked at our obsession for 
these deviled eggs. after trying these ones i was a fan! 
so much flavor packed in one tiny bite. 
get them as an appetizer for sure.
then some bigger plates came, like their magret of 
duck roasted right over flames as you can see below. 
the smell of charcoal when they bring this to the table 
was my favorite part. the boys loved this dish.
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and, we can’t forget the crispy cod. it made me feel like 
i was sitting at a seaside cafe in basque country eating 
fresh caught cod in the summer. yes, it was really that good!
the amazing ceiling that i kept staring at…
we ended by trying the iles flottantes, a floating meringue 
cake in crème anglaise. so light and fluffy and different. 
we also did rice pudding sundaes, cutest idea ever! a big 
bowl of homemade rice pudding that we divided up and 
put our own toppings on. i’m taking this idea for my next 
party! it ended our meal well and was again so unique.
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bon appetit!