Ah, the French... they've given us high fashion, the Tour de France and of course, the famous joie de vivre. But perhaps their greatest contribution of all is their delicious cuisine.
From buttery pastries and hearty stews to rich cheeses and wonderful wines, the list is long of all the incredible dishes and ingredients that we have the French to thank for. Imagine a world without croissants or Camembert? Quelle horreur!
Which is why, as our great nation prepares to battle it out on the rugby pitch, we'd like to take a moment to say a big merci beaucoup to our European cousins across the Channel. Discover our round-up of the best French recipes and ingredients below that we simply can't imagine living without.
Is there any better way to start the day than with a frothy cup of coffee and a buttery pastry? How on earth French women manage to stay so slim is totally mind-boggling when you consider the sheer amount of delicious baked goods they have to offer. From flakey croissants and filled pain au chocolats to soft brioche and delicate macarons, the French know a thing or two about heavenly pastries. These amazing bake-from-frozen croissants and pain au chocolat can be popped in the oven and your house will smell like a French bakery in no time! Ooh la la.
This veggie dish is so famous that it even inspired a Pixar film! Made with courgettes, onions, peppers and tomatoes, this one pot wonder couldn't be simpler (or more delicious) to make - get a quick and easy ratatouille recipe here. If you're short for time you can even get it in a tin - ratatooeasy!
Camembert, Brie, and Roquefort, oh my! There's no end to all the different ways to enjoy the many wonderful cheeses France has to offer - with so many different varieties and textures, French cheese are delicious in tarts and pies, melted in fondu, inside a sandwich, or simply enjoyed on their own with some crackers and chutney. Yum!
The perfect accompaniment to all that cheese (see above) is of course a crusty baguette. Or why not have a classic Croque Monsieur (basically a fancy ham and cheese toastie) or a Croque Madame (with egg) for lunch?
Coq au vin
When it comes to French recipes, this chicken stew is the ultimate winter warmer. While it's true that it does take a while for all the red wine, herbs, bacon and mushrooms to meld together, prepping a coq au vin couldn't be simpler - just throw everything into a pot and wait.
Want something a little lighter? Try this white coq au vin recipe instead.
Or if you need dinner on the table in a flash, then this slow-cooked coq-au-vin can be chucked in the microwave or oven and you'll be tucking in to a romantic French meal for two before you can say 'vin rouge'.
French onion soup
Few dishes are so simple yet so tasty. For an authentic French onion soup, be sure to cook the onions slowly, stirring often and don't forget the all-important croute - toasted baguette that's covered with melted cheese and floats on top of the soup.
A slow-cooked classic dish that's traditionally made with meat and white beans, this rich stew is perfect for using up leftover bits from Sunday's roast. Short on time? Try this cheat's cassoulet recipe made with canned butter beans that's ready in just 30 minutes.
A foamy latte is all well and good to wash down those crumbling pastries with, but for all those hearty stews and gorgeous cheeses, you might like something a little stronger. Happily the French are total experts when it comes to wine, boasting several world-class varieties including Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and of course, let's not forget about Champagne. Confused about wine and food pairings? Don't fret - this handy guide has the answers. You can browse all kinds of delicious wines in our French wine section - quel choix!
Don't forget to save a little bit of that wine to use in some classic French recipes - like Boeuf Bourguignon!
This warming French stew is traditionally made with red wine but if you want to make a more child-friendly dish then simply substitute the wine for grape juice. Get the recipe for our family-friendly beef Bourguignon here.
Plus, we love Bourguignon so much we even made a pie out of it! How very British.
Lovely, crisp, buttery pastry is filled with a rich ham, cheese and cream mix - what could be better? Dish up this Quiche Lorraine with a side salad for a hearty and flavour-packed meal.
Throwing a party? There's nothing better than these mini quiche Lorraines to offer up to your guests.
Just as delicious when filled with savoury ingredients like spinach and cheese as with sweet ones like the classic crêpes Suzette, these crispy pancakes are a must-try. And there's no need for those on a GF diet to miss out on the fun - try this gluten-free crepes recipe for a real treat.