French Cuisine: 5 Must-Have Ingredients!

At Bistro 4 Saisons, we specialize in simple, refined fare, influenced strongly by French cuisine.

So what exactly do we mean by French cuisine? Croissants, baguettes, wine and cheese to be sure, but besides those, what should you stock your pantry with to create the kind of dishes associated with France?

The following five ingredients—typically found in the average French kitchen—are a good start!

Serveur qui tient une bouteille de vin

Dijon Mustard

We’re not talking about the kind of mustard on a hot dog served at a baseball stadium. The French go for Dijon mustard, an altogether darker, tastier and more versatile ingredient. Add a spoonful or two to a salad dressing, a sauce, or a dip to create a tangy seasoning bursting with flavour! Dijon mustard enhances a sandwich too.

Fleur de Sel

Nearly everybody has salt in their pantry, but fleur de sel is very different from run-of-the-mill table salt. Crunchier than fine sea salt, fleur de sel is a “finishing salt”, sprinkled on food just before serving.

Where to find it? You can source something similar from Sel Saint-Laurent, the first company in Quebec to produce salt flakes from the sea. Harvested from the Upper North Shore region of the St. Lawrence River, this refined, crunchy salt can be used in the same manner as fleur de sel.

Sel Saint-Laurent

©Sel Saint-Laurent

Crème Fraîche

To thicken a sauce, vinaigrette or stew, the French love to add a large spoonful of fresh cream. Crème fraîche can also be used as a topping for a fruit salad or a chocolate cake, as well as the “secret” ingredient for creating the perfect quiche or omelette!

Herbes de Provence

French dishes give off wonderful aromas, thanks to the liberal use of fresh and/or dried herbs. One of the most popular blends is probably the famous Herbes de Provence. You can buy the mix, ready-made, at the grocery store or put one together yourself. Herbs from your vegetable garden—thyme, oregano, rosemary, savory—can be dried and added to soups, vinaigrettes, marinades, etc.


Preferably salted butter! The French love butter and they slather it on baguettes and sandwiches. Take the popular jambon-beurre. Basically, it’s just a baguette sliced open, spread with butter and slices of ham… Simple as that!

These five ingredients are by no means an exhaustive list. There are lots of other popular foods associated with French cuisine—truffles, shallots, pickles, plain yogourt (to name a few).

Serveur qui tient une planche de charcuterie & fromage

Have you worked up an appetite now? If so, we’ll be happy to welcome you to Bistro 4 Saisons! We’ll take you on a culinary journey to France, through our tasty menu and our wine list featuring a number of French vintages.

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