French-Australian Chef Gabriel Gaté

Top 10 French Culinary Delights with Gabriel Gaté

Renowned for its fine cuisine and sun-soaked wine regions, France is home to a rich culinary heritage. Spanning from the humble onion soup and iconic baguette loaf to elegant foie gras and wine-infused beef bourguignon, France’s culinary scene offers something to tempt all taste buds.
We spoke to French-Australian chef, cookbook author and television show host, Gabriel Gaté, about his favourite French foods. Read his top ten choices, which encompass freshly caught seafood, regional wines and delicious desserts for those with a sweet tooth.
French cuisine

A Delightful Seafood Platter

Gabriel Gaté is particularly fond of seafood platters. Served cold over ice, seafood platters are a staple dish on the menu of every coastal seafood restaurant, as well as the relaxed brasseries of Paris. You have the choice to customise your seafood platter to include a mix of freshly caught seafood, including oysters, scampi, prawns, crabs, lobsters, mussels, and even sea snails. Rye bread, creamy French butter, mayonnaise and an authentic shallot red wine vinegar dressing are the perfect accompaniments to the dish. A glass of champagne will complete your dining experience. 

A Customary Cheese Tray

A list of classic French cuisine wouldn’t be complete without including cheese. The French love their cheese, and in many of the country’s fine restaurants you can order an elaborate cheese tray. You’ll be spoilt for choice by as many as twenty different cheeses, perfectly matured and immaculately presented. For a truly traditional French cheese experience, enjoy with freshly baked bread and a glass of red Bordeaux or Burgundy wine.

Classic Charcuterie

Quaint French villages are often home to a small charcuterie shop. Gabriel Gaté cites these stores as his favourite place to find unique and regional smallgoods. Curate a classic charcuterie board yourself with a myriad of homemade terrines and pâtés, alongside slices of ham and salami. Dried fruit, cheese and olives complete the platter.
wine being poured into a glass

Fine French Wine

France is home to some of Europe’s most renowned vineyards. Whether you prefer red or white, you’ll find ample bottles of fine wine from across the country. French wines are excellent value by the glass; savour wines in both casual restaurants and elegant wine bars alike. Unless you are a wine connoisseur, French wine bottle labels can be challenging to understand. Gabriel Gaté recommends the following. For a charming Chardonnay souvenir to take home with you, buy a white burgundy wine. Loire Valley wine is the best if you are seeking a Sauvignon Blanc, while the Alsace region makes superb Riesling. For a Shiraz, look to the Côte du Rhône region, and for a Cabernet Sauvignon, try a Bordeaux. Finally, Burgundy has great Pinot Noir. 

Freshly Baked Items from the Boulangerie

When exploring French cuisine, it is absolutely essential that you take the time to discover what’s on offer in a boulangerie. Although simple, nothing beats the sublime taste of a freshly baked croissant or baguette with French butter. You’ll also find a number of other freshly baked items in local boulangeries, which are perfect for breakfast or as a light snack.

Delicious French Desserts

Often colourful, creamy and rich in flavours, French desserts are a must-try if you are seeking something sweet. French chefs make great use of fresh fruits to craft tarts, soufflés, gâteau and petits pots, all of which taste as good as they look. Gabriel Gaté prefers baking desserts with liqueur though, making use of Grand Marnier, Cointreau and Green Chartreuse in his celebrated recipes.

Sweet, Crumbly Pastry

The French art of making cakes is a constantly evolving practice, placing the country on a pedestal for its choice of delicious sweet things. Local pâtisseries are havens for those with a sweet tooth. Gaze upon the neatly aligned rows of cakes and pastries in a pâtisserie cabinet, and attempt to choose just one to buy from the mouthwatering selection. Gabriel Gaté suggests you try a classic like a mille-feuille (a vanilla or custard slice) or a chocolate éclair, or be tempted by a stunning modern creation with exotic flavours.

Exquisite Game Food

Some foods are seasonal or best enjoyed at certain times of the year. During autumn, chef Gabriel Gaté ensures his recipes never overlook a regional speciality of game food. From hare to pheasant, game food makes for an exquisite dish when paired with wild mushrooms, crèpes or a rich wine sauce.

Flavoursome Sauces

One of the highlights of a gourmet French dish is the sauce. Many French chefs consider the dish not complete without this accompanying flavoursome sauce. With a fish dish, Gabriel Gaté recommends a delicious beurre blanc sauce made with shallots, white wine, vinegar and butter, or a hollandaise sauce. With meat, he recommends a béarnaise sauce, pepper sauce or red wine sauce.

Fine Regional Delicacies

Depending on where you visit on your journey through France, one of the most exciting culinary experiences is sampling fine regional delicacies. In the south-west region of France, try cassoulet, a dish of baked beans with duck and selected pork cuts. In Marseille and Provence, the bouillabaisse is a must-try dish; the fish stew is made with an aromatic broth of herbs and spices. In the Alps, your visit wouldn’t be complete without trying a glorious cheese fondue, whilst Burgundy will introduce you to coq au vin (a hot pot dish of chicken braised with wine and garlic). 

The Tastes of France with Scenic

The richness of French gastronomy is second to none; whichever part of the country you traverse, you’ll have the chance to indulge in a rich mix of dishes and regional wines. Owing to the country’s mild temperate climate and fertile soil, each region of France cultivates an outstanding array of fresh produce, meats, wines and cheeses.
Discover the exceptional cuisine of France by joining Scenic in 2021 on two exciting new Culinary Cruises. Handcrafted to delight the foodie inside you, you will be able to immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of this vibrant country. Choose between the Tastes of Southern France or Flavours of Bordeaux itineraries, relishing a selection of inspiring experiences and excursions – and of course, everything is included in the price with Scenic. Savour fine wines during a blind tasting experience, go truffle hunting with a farmer, sample premium French chocolates at a renowned boutique factory, and learn how to perfect your camera skills during a food photography masterclass.
In addition to these experiences, when you board a Scenic Space-Ship on any of our river cruises in the South of France and Bordeaux regions, you’ll have access to our exclusive on board cooking school. Scenic Culinaire invites you to learn the art of French cooking while cruising in truly all-inclusive luxury past the spectacular French scenery.
Discover the sumptuous tastes, smells and sights of France with Scenic. View our complete collection of French river cruises.