Just over a week after we in the former colonies celebrate our independence from England, the French have Bastille Day, a fête in honor of the revolution against the former French monarchy. On July 14th, a celebration of the conquering of the Bastille prison, formerly located in Paris, takes place throughout France, with parties, fireworks and meals shared with friends and family.
Traditional Bastille Day festivities usually take place around the barbecue, with grilling taking center stage for celebrations of summer. But Bastille Day can also be a great time to discover classic French summer dishes. Here are some of our favorites, to serve alongside your “grillade” or as an al fresco meal in celebration of the French national holiday.
1. Bouillabaisse is a classic seafood dish from Marseille, containing a variety of fish and mollusks in a tomato and fennel broth. Not only is the soup delicious in summertime, but its origin makes it a great choice for Bastille Day: the national anthem, the Marseillaise, hails from the same city!
2. Should you decide to spend Bastille Day outdoors, a pan bagnat is the perfect picnic option. The sandwiches are stuffed full of traditional salade niçoise ingredients like summer tomatoes, tuna and olives. Packed into a solid, crusty French bread, the fillings soak into the crumb, filling it with flavor.
Image: Emily Monaco
3. Pizza may be Italian, but pissaladière is Niçois. This traditional dish of caramelized onions, anchovies and olives is a spectacular choice for summer, particularly since this dish can be served either hot or cold. This dish is even easier to put together with a storebought pâte feuilletée dough, but if you like, you could try to make your own French puff pastry at home.
Image: Blue moon in her eyes
4. No French meal would be complete without cheese. Turn the cheese course into something special with homemade marinated goat cheese. These cheeses can be served atop a salad or simply enjoyed on a piece of French baguette.
Serve up your Bastille Day menu with a glass of organic French wine, and you’ll be all set to celebrate!
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