French food is not renowned for being the most vegan-friendly, but in fact many top French chefs have now won awards for creating plant-based foods. Many foods made in France are illegal to make here on cruelty grounds (like pate de foie gras, although it’s still legal to sell so boycott restaurants that sell it).
One point to note is that in France, good bread is so integral to daily life, that bakers are not allowed to take holidays at the same time! Fougasse (Lands & Flavors) is a nice French-inspired bread with Provence herbs. Keep fresh bread dough and other toxic ingredients (garlic, dried fruits etc) away from pets.
Le Vegan Boulangerie!
Vegan Recipes from France is a lovely little book of plant-based recipes, translating all the classics into vegan alternatives. Made with simple ingredients, learn the foundations of French cooking (stocks, baguette, brioche, croissants, bechamel, aioli and cheese), then find recipes for soups, terrines, gratins, omlettes, quiche, souffle and crepes. Plus desserts (mousse au chocolate, tarte tartin, gateau and madeleines).
Vegan Pates from France
Pate de foie gras is banned here to produce, due to animal welfare laws (it involves using a metal pipe to force-feed geese or ducks (akin to you eating several plates of pasta) until their livers turn to pate. Millions of birds are kept in cages so tiny, they cannot open their wings. Described as ‘barbaric’ by one Conservative minister, that has not stopped Boris Johnson (supported by his MP friend Jacob Rees-Mogg) delaying the promised Animals Abroad Bill, which would have banned the import and sale of this and other goods.
Former Bond actor Sir Roger Moore lived in Switzerland, and became a huge advocate for banning the sale of foie gras, before his death. He asked shoppers to not buy it from Fortnum & Mason stores, describing it as ‘torture in a tin’.
The Bill would have also banned the import or real fur – again some MPs have kicked up that it would stop ‘ceremonial hats’ like bear fur hats at Buckingham Palace. The Bill also would have banned the import of hunting trophies, and advertising of elephant rides overseas. Chris Packham has a petition asking the government to not go back on its pledge to ban these items, which they promised when Brexit was delivered.
There is often the charge at the French that we in England care about animal welfare more than them. But it’s telling to note that while some of our ‘top chefs’ are criticising the ‘nanny state’ for considering a ban, three French cities have already banned it, so they are more progressive than animal-batty Britain.
Foiegeddeaboutit is a truffle mushroom pate by gourmet vegan cheese artisans in London. Eat within 5 days of opening, and you can freeze it for up to 2 months. It’s made with black truffles and porcini mushrooms, and has a dep aromatic flavour and a melt-in-your-mouth texture, topped with an extra dose of truffle oil. Ideal with bread, crackers and a glass of wine – or stir on top of risotto or pasta.
La Bonne Foi (France – translates to ‘the good faith’) is an authentic vegan foie gras from France. A ‘gourmet food’, this is an ideal alternative for foodies, this is sold by an online Belgian vegan fromagier, and delivered everywhere!
Made with organic ingredients, it’s a blend of cashew nuts, mushroom infusion, spices and black pepper essential oil that won a culinary award in France. Best served chilled, it’s sold in a glass jar. Made in France, the original recipe is by Marie-Sophie L (the geese salute you Marie, merci!) Free from liver or fat, this pate is cholesterol-free and designed to satisfy foie gras fans (and all gourmets) in search of new taste emotions.
The Best Vegan Foie Gras (Full of Plants) is a homemade recipe. Thomas is one of the world’s most popular recipe bloggers, and he’s also French. Which means he grew up eating the real stuff, and took time to perfect this recipe, to ensure it looks, smells, tastes and spreads, just like the real thing. ‘Merci’ from the birds, Thomas! The BOSH Boys also have a plant-based version of faux gras.
Vegan Coq au Vin (Crowded Kitchen)
Many foods are toxic to animal friends, so keep these recipes away from nosey paws. If making your own pasta, keep fresh dough away from pets (it can expand in the stomach) and never use xylitol (a sweetener that can be lethal, if licked).
Making your own recipes is a fun affordable way to use up leftover veggies, or what’s on sale at the farmers’ market. Base meals around cheap staples like pasta or rice (take your own container to the zero waste shop, but eat rice up quickly, as it’s a food poison hazard, if left too long). Eating plant-based recipes is good for animal welfare, the planet and your health. It’s also a good way to replace tasteless and expensive plastic-wrapped ready-meals from the supermarket. Recipes include:
Make Your Own (vegan) French Recipes
Many people avoid some French foods anyway (like pate de foie gras that is made by force-feeding geese until their pates turn to liver – boycott anywhere that sells it, and make your own faux gras! When asked why they don’t get fat, French women all say the same: they eat proper meals, don’t snack, only drink wine with meals, drink lots of water, walk everywhere (and never eat huge American-style muffins and big bags of chips). Moderation, oui!
The Spoons Cookbook is a lovely book by an American chef who lives in France. Find recipes for summer rainbow ratatouille, buckwheat crepes with cashew cream cheese, crispy baked frites, chickpea salad niçoise, mushroom bourguignon with mash, plant-based brie, classic flaky croissants and brioche. Plus there are lots of vegan desserts including lemon tart, pear tarte tatin, sweet cherry frangipane tart and mousse au chocolate.