Dear family and friends, let me introduce you to 3 great dishes we enjoy eating in France in order to face the cold weather and the etiquette tips that come with.

These stew-like dishes are filling and soothing, but also often takes quite a long time to cook. This is why they are usually prepared and shared with our families or friends over the weekend.

Beef Bourguignon (3 hours cooking)

What is it: The dish originated in the Burgundy region. Beef is cut into small cubes and stewed for several hours, in order to become tender and to absorb the red wine sauce. It is usually combined with braised onions, sautéed mushrooms, carrots, and potentially other vegetables, all cut into small pieces. The long cooking time will ensure that all the ingredients absorb the red-wine sauce.

Why do we like it:The meat is extremely tender thanks to the three hours of cooking. We often serve it with pasta, such as linguini or tagliatelle, potatoes, or starchy food in general. The starchy food goes well with the red wine sauce; its tannins absorb the fat, giving a filling impression in your stomach, which is perfect for a cold day.

Etiquette tips: When we eat pasta, we cannot suck them up. This noise will sound disgraceful for other people, plus you’re run the risk of having some sauce drop on you. The good thing to do is to rope the pasta on the fork. The meat is so tender that you can cut it with the edge of the fork, which you may use with your right hand (you rest the knife on the plate), as tolerated in the French etiquette.

Pot au feu (4 hours cooking)

What is it: Another meat dish using beef. It is combined with many vegetables such as carrots, turnips, celery, onions, cabbage, and leeks. They are all cooked together for several hours, with aromatic herbs and spices. The iconic element of this dish is the marrow bone, which is also cooked with the other ingredients and gives it a particular taste. The sauce is generally light.

How to enjoy it: You should use your spoon to extract the marrow and then put a little bit of it on toast bread and sprinkle it with coarse sea salt. This dish is served with a broth, so you have to use a soup plate and a spoon. The meat and the vegetables will be very tender due to the long cooking time, but because of the light sauce their taste won’t be so strong, you will rather feel the spices, which is the difference with Boeuf Bourguignon. It goes well with starchy food as well and will let you feel warm on a cold day.

Etiquette tips: It is important to drink the broth in silence, from the tip of your spoon, which you shall not put entirely in your mouth. Generally, when drinking soup, you shall not touch your plate, nor lift one edge to help to finish all the broth. Beware of making any noise when eating the marrow bone. This should be done in silence.

Blanquette de veau (1.3 hours cooking)

What is it: This kind of ragout uses veal with a creamy white sauce, made from crème fraiche, egg yolk and sometimes white wine. The name of the dish is: “blanquette” derived from “blanc”, meaning white in French. You can also remember the name as it covers everything like the coziest blanket. The small pieces of veal are boiled and served with rice, tagliatelle or steamed potatoes.

How to enjoy it: Since this is a classic “white stew”, there is a prejudice to serve it with any other vegetables that would add colour, excepting maybe carrots. Onions, mushrooms, and celery are good choices. Because it is made from cream, the sauce will be thick and rich, filling your stomach – perfect to face the cold winter.