Books dealing with French REGIONAL cooking

197
47
Joined Aug 20, 2010
First of all, I want to apologize for starting yet another thread about French cooking as I know there are countless of them already, but these are about introductory books and I'm interested in regional cooking, mainly those cuisines of Gascony, Languedoc, Provence, Bourgogne, Savoie, but not just these. I already have a few of those books that are generally suggested as introductory (Julia Child, Elizabeth David and some more).

These may be books about regional cooking in general or books about cooking in any particular region. I'm sure there will also be many public domain books. It's OK if they're in French.
 
6
11
Joined May 16, 2011
Paula wolfert "the Cooking of Southwest France" is excellent. I have made several recipes and have travelled in these areas, and the recipes and iformation is really excellent. It is in english.

Another one i like is Cookng School Provence, dorleen kindersly publisher.
 
197
47
Joined Aug 20, 2010
The Wolfert book is one of those I have long been seriously considering. I love her latest book - very interesting recipes (probably the most interesting I've ever come across), and nice prose, too. Do you have the revised edition with 150+ added pages or the original one? Can you tell anything about the difference? I mean, is it just a lot of new pictures with little actual new content or is it really worth the extra price (which is almost double)?
 
74
10
Joined Feb 18, 2011
I've taken that book out of the library and made 1 recipe..it was a cherry pudding with kirsch.  It was ok, not my best result by far. You might have better luck.  

I've only seen 1 version and it is beautiful 
 
Last edited:
8,550
209
Joined Feb 13, 2008
You really want to take a look at Elizabeth David's books. There's a pre-suppostion with some of them that you can already cook, though.

Look for people with strong associations to regions, like Roger Verge. His books are wonderful. Again, you want to be pretty good going in.

Madeline Kammins -- out of print, I'm sure -- is great if you can find her.

One of the problems with regional cooking is fresh, quality, regional ingredients. Provencal is all very well and good if you live in California, but pretty tough most other places.

It might be more helpful to organize your search around ideas like "bourgeois" and "impromptu," rather than regional. Also, look at nearby countries. There's a lot of cross-over between Alsatian and German, for instance. The whole northern Med has a lot in common. Spanish, French, Italian, what the heck? So much is alla time same same. Hope you like grilled fish.

Chris Belgium can probably help you with northern France, especially the western part of the country. Belgian food has a lot in common with Normandy -- but better beer in Belgium. Much better beer. Much much better beer. Chris may know about some English books and websites, God knows he's sufficiently bilingual.

Google. You can get lots of regional dish names from simple search terms. For instance you could try "brittany cuisine," "brittany dishes," and "brittany food." Once you've got the names of foods which look good to you, start looking for recipes. The recipes which look best usually are best. The recipes which look best to you, are most likely those you'll like, and those which don't look good you probably won't like. Funny how that works, eh? If you already don't like kidneys, chances are you won't like them just because some joker calls them rognon and serves them in a Calvados reduction [drooling smilie].

Read French? Big help. Once you've got the dish names, just add recette.

Rule of thumb: An obscene amount of butter is always a good sign. If your arteries don't slam shut when you first see the recipe, it's probably not that good.

Bon chance,
BDL
 
6
11
Joined Sep 11, 2011
Elizabeth David's French Regional Cookery and her book on charcutery are good.  Curnonsky's Traditional French Cookery is huge and lots of fun.
 
6
11
Joined Sep 11, 2011
I forgot - Madelaine Kamman's When French Women Cook is wonderful. It's available on Amazon.
 
Last edited:
27
11
Joined Aug 10, 2010
Paul Bocuse published a book called Bocuse's Regional French Cooking.  It is out of print, but you can find used copies online.  Bocuse does not include all the regions of France, but several are surveyed.  The cooking is straightforward, without a lot of fuss.  Many, if not most, of the recipes from the book are available on his website, but you would not have his commentary on the cuisine of the various regions included in the book.
[h1] [/h1]
 
197
47
Joined Aug 20, 2010
I am back again and want to share about a couple books I got recently (actually two years ago) while on a business trip in Lausanne, Switzerland. There was, and I hope that it is still there, a small family-run bookshop specializing in culinary literature a few blocks above the cathedral, mostly French and Swiss cooking as far as I can remember. The owner was super nice and we had quite a long discussion about food. He was extremely knowledgeable about French cookbooks and had hundreds of them, including very rare (and expensive) first editions of famous classic cookbooks. I regret only two things: not taking notes when he was speaking and not buying more books. In fact, as strange as it sounds, I only bought two (both in French).

The first one is Les bonnes recettes de la cuisine tourangelle by Paul-Jacques Lévêque (seems to be available on Amazon, otherwise try abebooks.com), who was the local director of tourism and consulted many professional chefs working in the Touraine region. For those who are not familiar with the region, Touraine is pretty much the gastronomical heart of France, where much of the classic cooking was born. The book contains a selection of recipes (around 80 of them) shared by the chefs of various hotels, restaurants and bistrots from the region representing classic Touraine cooking. Definitely recommended!

Just a little taste of the book:
tours1.jpg tours2.jpg tours3.jpg

The other one is La bonne cuisine du Périgord by La Mazille. Written by a lady who was born in the region, it is quite possibly the definitive guide to Périgord cooking, one of the greatest regional cuisines in France. She sort of strikes me as a French version of Elizabeth David in that her prose is of really good quality for a cookbook and has this ability to really transport you to her home region. Very in-depth with over 400 recipes, amazing!

Just a little taste of the book:
per1.jpg per2.jpg per3.jpg

Even before the two above books, I got another classic - La cuisine du Comté de Nice by Jacques Médecin, former mayor of Nice. He wrote arguably the most passionate and opinionated description of the often misinterpreted salade niçoise (hint: it contains no potatoes, no green beans or other cooked vegetable). Another must!

Just a little taste of the book:
nice1.jpg nice2.jpg nice3.jpg

It's possible some of those books aren't in print anymore, but they should still be available used (abebooks or elsewhere). I gave you three recipes, one from each of the books - a salad, a fish main course and a dessert, I hope it's not against the rules.

For general introduction into French regional cooking, The Food of France by Waverley Root is great, as is Recettes des provinces de France by Curnonsky. Still, French Provicial Cooking by Elizabeth David is the best, I find.

For region-specific books, I also enjoyed A Provençal Table by Richard Olney, The Cooking of South-West France by Paula Wolfert (somebody mentioned it here in 2011, I believe) and Flavours of the Riviera by Colman Andrews.

What books about French regional cuisine have inspired you guys? What do you recommend?
 
Last edited:
17
4
Joined Jul 15, 2020
I am back again and want to share about a couple books I got recently (actually two years ago) while on a business trip in Lausanne, Switzerland. There was, and I hope that it is still there, a small family-run bookshop specializing in culinary literature a few blocks above the cathedral, mostly French and Swiss cooking as far as I can remember. The owner was super nice and we had quite a long discussion about food. He was extremely knowledgeable about French cookbooks and had hundreds of them, including very rare (and expensive) first editions of famous classic cookbooks. I regret only two things: not taking notes when he was speaking and not buying more books. In fact, as strange as it sounds, I only bought two (both in French).

The first one is Les bonnes recettes de la cuisine tourangelle by Paul-Jacques Lévêque (seems to be available on Amazon, otherwise try abebooks.com), who was the local director of tourism and consulted many professional chefs working in the Touraine region. For those who are not familiar with the region, Touraine is pretty much the gastronomical heart of France, where much of the classic cooking was born. The book contains a selection of recipes (around 80 of them) shared by the chefs of various hotels, restaurants and bistrots from the region representing classic Touraine cooking. Definitely recommended!

Just a little taste of the book:
View attachment 67651 View attachment 67652 View attachment 67653

The other one is La bonne cuisine du Périgord by La Mazille. Written by a lady who was born in the region, it is quite possibly the definitive guide to Périgord cooking, one of the greatest regional cuisines in France. She sort of strikes me as a French version of Elizabeth David in that her prose is of really good quality for a cookbook and has this ability to really transport you to her home region. Very in-depth with over 400 recipes, amazing!

Just a little taste of the book:
View attachment 67645 View attachment 67646 View attachment 67647

Even before the two above books, I got another classic - La cuisine du Comté de Nice by Jacques Médecin, former mayor of Nice. He wrote arguably the most passionate and opinionated description of the often misinterpreted salade niçoise (hint: it contains no potatoes, no green beans or other cooked vegetable). Another must!

Just a little taste of the book:
View attachment 67648 View attachment 67649 View attachment 67650

It's possible some of those books aren't in print anymore, but they should still be available used (abebooks or elsewhere). I gave you three recipes, one from each of the books - a salad, a fish main course and a dessert, I hope it's not against the rules.

For general introduction into French regional cooking, The Food of France by Waverley Root is great, as is Recettes des provinces de France by Curnonsky. Still, French Provicial Cooking by Elizabeth David is the best, I find.

For region-specific books, I also enjoyed A Provençal Table by Richard Olney, The Cooking of South-West France by Paula Wolfert (somebody mentioned it here in 2011, I believe) and Flavours of the Riviera by Colman Andrews.

What books about French regional cuisine have inspired you guys? What do you recommend?
I actually joined today looking for guidance on this exact issue. I am huge fan of Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France. It is actually the first cookbook I bought myself as a teenager. My take on her Braised Short Ribs in Porcini-Prune Sauce is my signature dish as a home cook.

I am actually curious of anyone can recommend any other resources for the cuisine of Southwest France, especially the cooking of Bordeaux. I have a great passion for the wine of the region and would really like more information on what the locals cook to go with it. For instance, how do the people of Bordeaux actually prepare the Pauillac lamb that is supposed to be such a perfect pairing for their wines? Sadly, I do not read French, so English is a must.
 
6
0
Joined Oct 23, 2018
...these are about introductory books and I'm interested in regional cooking, mainly those cuisines of Gascony, Languedoc, Provence, Bourgogne, Savoie, but not just these...

These may be books about regional cooking in general or books about cooking in any particular region. I'm sure there will also be many public domain books. It's OK if they're in French.
Hi folks!

Let me add a few cents to this discussion.

The answer on Your question is depend on WHAT EXACTLY YOU NEED FOR. This mean You not need a Books, but You really need a solution for some of Your problem or Your final destination.
This destination may be different:
- to cooking at home on advanced level for family & friends;
- to learn how to cooking “French style” and after You receive some experience, go up and try to be a newbie-chef in some really good restaurant near a Your place, and after some practice decide is cooking Your way or not;
- decide to be as chef on a kitchen whole life, and to start self-education process before going deeply and spend $20,000 in Escoffier or LeCordon Bleu School (with a French speaking group :) in Paris;

Three different ways. And due this - three different sets of books.

What way is Yours?
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
9,109
802
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Not that's maintained as such but there's lots of such talk in this forum a search should turn up plenty
 
197
47
Joined Aug 20, 2010
I actually joined today looking for guidance on this exact issue. I am huge fan of Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France. It is actually the first cookbook I bought myself as a teenager. My take on her Braised Short Ribs in Porcini-Prune Sauce is my signature dish as a home cook.

I am actually curious of anyone can recommend any other resources for the cuisine of Southwest France, especially the cooking of Bordeaux. I have a great passion for the wine of the region and would really like more information on what the locals cook to go with it. For instance, how do the people of Bordeaux actually prepare the Pauillac lamb that is supposed to be such a perfect pairing for their wines? Sadly, I do not read French, so English is a must.
I don't think there's much in English about the cooking of that part of France specifically. But learning enough French to be able to read cookbooks takes about three months for a native English speaker, so really do consider doing that.

Unfortunately, I don't have anything about Bordelaise cooking.
 
Top Bottom