Atlas de la France Gourmande became my bible last trip thanks to the recommendation of PB reader TK. I bought it at Amazon.fr and it was waiting for me on arrival.
An illustrated book for young adults, it's the perfect guide if you're traveling around France. Ten specialties for each of France's 23 regions with explanations of each item.
Plus regional recipes by chefs of Relais et Chateaux. When I went off to Nancy for the day I knew what was on the menu.
As much Mirabelles in as many forms as possible. And Bergamote too.
Eating this tarte mirabelle was a must-do.
I don't usually eat red meat but when in Nancy one must try le pate Lorrain, tourte Lorrain, plus quiche lardon.
Les dragee de Verdun is another local specialty of Lorrain, first created by pharmacists by accident. i.e. the apothacary glass jars they're displayed in. Dragee means pill by the way.
Back in Paris one forgets to be a locavore yet there are many regional specialties not to be missed. Well we all know about macaron Parisian...
But radis are native of the Ile-de-France. Who knew?
Going off to visit Tout Soul author Karen Wheeler in the Poitou-Charante, the atlas made clear what I must eat.
I tried as many local specialties as possible.
Karen swears her local butter/beurre Echire is the best in all France.
Like Brittany, another tres riche butter-salt region, the Poitou has loads of buttery shortbread galettes in all sizes. You even get mini bisquits automatically when you order coffee. There's no avoiding it and it's delicious.
The coastline L'ile de Re is famous for it's fleur de sel/salt.
Goat cheeses/chabichou du Poitou abound.
Dairy products are certainly important but I loved this milk carton with an illustrated map similar to the Atlas. Pride of place and tradition is key in France. Just follow the cues in the Atlas' maps and you can't go wrong traveling in France. 260 products to taste. Plus cheese routes, salt routes. Do your homework!
Any leftovers scraps Biff will happily gobble up no matter what region they are from.