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French Culinary Terms

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#1 Bu Pun Su

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 08:26 PM

Could anybody help me to distiguish the food terms below? Many thanks

1. Noix de Saint-Jacques vs Coquilles Saint-Jacques (Scallop, that's all I know)
2. Langoustine, langouste and homard (I just know the size difference)
3. Volaille vs Poulet (Chicken, that's all I know)

Another things, not sure whether I'm allowed to ask it at this forum

1. Lobster (Brittany vs Blue vs Scottish)
2. Bar vs Seabass (I heard that they're not exactly the same)
3. Chicken (Bresse vs Blue Foot)
4. Beef (Kobe vs wagyu). What kind of beef/steak usually served in French gastronomy?

Sorry for the many questions. Any explaination would be very appreciated. Cheers!

#2 winemike

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 01:35 AM

I'll try to help with the little I know... I'll most probably get corrected...

1.
Noix de Saint Jacques is just the heart of the scallop itself (the white part, without the coral).
Coquille means shell, so it usually means the entire shell, including the coral, clearly.

2.
Langoustine is prawn (not sure)
Langouste is crayfish (really not sure)
Homard is lobster

3.
Volaille = poultry
Poulet = chicken

about the other questions..
1.well, lobster is blue anyway... the brittany one is a tad smaller, indeed a little tastier and an awful lot more expensive than the canadian lobster mainly from Nova Scotia. I'm not sure about scottish lobster
2.Not sure, to me bar is bass. Now seabass may be interpreted as loup de mer, same thing but from the mediterrenean sea as opposed to atlantic ocean (bar).
3.Poulet de Bresse is an AOC. All you ever dreamt about knowing about is on www.pouletbresse.com. And i've not heard of blue foot but only of black foot "pattes noires"...
4.Wagyu is the breed of the cow. Kobe just the general naming for the actual japanese grown vs american grown (in which case, it can't be Kobe...). It's certainly not what is served in French bistros. Where you'll find Charolais, Normande, Laguiole... and many others...

These are quickly, off top of my head answers. You'll probably find way more info on the net or from people who will correct me.
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#3 Busboy

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 06:25 AM

This may be helpful.

And this.
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#4 Ptipois

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 06:48 AM

Noix de Saint-Jacques vs Coquilles Saint-Jacques
As winemike wrote, noix de saint-jacques = no coral, coquilles Saint-Jacques = the whole beast, and then it has to be mentioned if it's still in the shell, white meat only or with coral. Note the absence of capitals in noix de saint-jacques (saint-jacques becomes a generic name) and their presence in coquilles Saint-Jacques.

Langoustine, langouste and homard
Langoustine is generally translated as Dublin Bay Prawn or simply prawn. However, in some cases, prawns can be large shrimp. The old-fashioned "scampi" appears sometimes, more justifiably in a Mediterranean context. Langouste is rock lobster, homard is just lobster.

Volaille vs Poulet
Fowl, poultry vs chicken. However, when the poultry is of the noble kind (volaille de Bresse), the term is used for chicken.

Lobster (Brittany vs Blue vs Scottish)
Breton lobster = in France it is also called homard bleu but it's true that all lobsters start more or less blue. I've just noticed a darker blue shade in live Breton lobsters. Nothing to add to winemike's info.

Bar vs Seabass
Bar is sea bass, or at least the East Atlantic version of sea bass. Note that, in Mediterranean waters, it is called loup.

Chicken (Bresse vs Blue Foot)
Bresse chicken is a bluefoot, and bluefoot in France is gauloise blanche, so Bresse chicken is a gauloise blanche. Other gauloises blanches are bred in France but they are not necessarily Bresse chicken. If DeGusto passes by, he may correct or confirm that.

Beef (Kobe vs wagyu). What kind of beef/steak usually served in French gastronomy?
There is no wagyu beef in France except frozen in Parisian Japanese stores (btw Kobe beef is a variety of wagyu, wagyu being Japanese-style marbled beef). There are many types of cattle bred for meat. French meat falls into two categories. Some marbled meat that can be aged — normande, limousine, salers, bazadaise, simmenthal, etc. — and the charolais type, generally preferred (wrongly IMO though there are fine exceptions), unmarbled, doesn't age. I'm not crazy about charolais in general. In the South you may be able to find bull's meat (taureau) which, though unmarbled, is extremely tender and tasty.

#5 John Talbott

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 08:04 AM

My wife Colette, Ptit and I have been having a discussion offline about the origins and meanings of "a la plancha" in its Spanish, French and English contexts.

The origin as best I can trace it is to "to the plate," that is things, usually fish, cuttlefish, scallops, but also beef or veal, grilled very swiftly and served very quickly "to the plate."

In Paris, last week, however, Colette's scallops had a sauce and looked all the world like they were sauteed the old-fashioned way, even in a frying pan, and then sauced.

Wherein apparently comes the second meaning, grilled or sauteed on a special metalic flat surface which according to one source is specifically a "1/8 of an inch (3mm) thick" and elsewhere (which I cannot find just now) states that the metal imparts a special taste.

Anyone have anything clarifying to add?
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#6 degusto

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 09:02 AM

My understanding is that a blue foot is a chicken from the race gauloise blanche (or variety of it) bred in the US or Canada. But there are chicken races bred in France other than gauloise blanche with blue feet so the reference to the colour of the feet is not interesting in France. For example the Coucou de Rennes also has blue feet as has other gauloise varieties. I am not going to go into the details about the Bresse chicken but essentially ptipois is correct. A Bresse chicken is essentially a gauloise blanche that fulfils certain criteria among one which is that it has to be from the Bresse region. If it comes from outside the region or if it does not meet all the other criteria it is sold as a gauloise blanche. However, such a gauloise blanche is not to be confused with an ancient variety of the gauloise blanche with pale comb (a sub-variety with more delicate flesh and thinner skin) but quite blue feet from the small farm Le Cros de la Géline which is generally known and sold as gauloise blanche. Confusing?

Homard bleu is a blue lobster, in other words a European lobster (latin name Homarus gammarus) as opposed to an American lobster (latin name Homarus americanus) which is more brownish dark green. Homard bleu in a French restaurant could consequently be British, Spanish or Scandinavian for example. It is amazing how much shellfish is exported from the British Isles to France, Spain and Italy. Some people think lobsters from cool waters are better but judging from tastings I have taken part of it is not that easy to make generalisations. A lot of other factors have to be considered. I have on multiple occasions sampled lobsters from France, Scotland and Scandinavia side by side. It is difficult to say there are any great differences between the different European lobsters as long as they come from good waters. If anything, some Scandinavian lobsters can before they are cooked be darker blue (almost black-blue) in colour than the other European lobsters but the winners of the tastings have literally always been the lobster that had spent the shortest time on land and/or in a tank. American lobsters have never fared well in such comparisons though. As a side note it can be mentioned that there are blue lobsters (colour often somewhat reddish-blue) in the Mediterranean as far up as along the French Riviera and certain parts of the Italian coast. There are rarely any references in literature to this. Prepared the same day as they have been caught they are as interesting as any other lobster.

Edited by degusto, 11 January 2007 - 07:41 PM.

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#7 Bu Pun Su

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 09:03 AM

Thank you for your kinds help everyone. It helps a lot! Just realized so far that I might not really understand what I ate. The food terms glossary is very good - for the future reference.

Noix de Saint-Jacques vs Coquilles Saint-Jacques

In some restaurants they seem to used it interchangeably while in fact on the plates, they're pretty much the same = scallops served without any shells. This is why I often confused

Lobster - Brittany vs Blue

A few months ago, I saw in Le Louis XV menu that they separate these 2 lobsters in their menu (Basically, one menu is Brittany Lobster ...... and the other one is Blue Lobster from their own tank), I thought they're different. Are French lobster pretty much all blue lobster?

#8 degusto

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 09:17 AM

Lobster - Brittany vs Blue

A few months ago, I saw in Le Louis XV menu that they separate these 2 lobsters in their menu (Basically, one menu is Brittany Lobster ...... and the other one is Blue Lobster from their own tank), I thought they're different. Are French lobster pretty much all blue lobster?

View Post


I doubt the distinction was made on purpose. As far as I know, le Louis XV gets lobsters from a fish monger in Brittany with their own boats. However, it happens that one of the local fishermen around Monaco that they work with catch a Mediterranean lobster in their nets and it may then be bought by Le Louis XV but that is so unusual that they will not have it on the menu.

Edited by degusto, 11 January 2007 - 09:19 AM.

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#9 cigalechanta

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 04:44 PM

a good basic glossary is on Patricia Wells site.
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#10 BigboyDan

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 10:11 PM

Lobster - Brittany vs Blue

A few months ago, I saw in Le Louis XV menu that they separate these 2 lobsters in their menu (Basically, one menu is Brittany Lobster ...... and the other one is Blue Lobster from their own tank), I thought they're different. Are French lobster pretty much all blue lobster?

View Post


I doubt the distinction was made on purpose. As far as I know, le Louis XV gets lobsters from a fish monger in Brittany with their own boats. However, it happens that one of the local fishermen around Monaco that they work with catch a Mediterranean lobster in their nets and it may then be bought by Le Louis XV but that is so unusual that they will not have it on the menu.

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The distinction is on purpose. Le Louis XV distinguishes between five different types of asparagas on it's menu. Lobsters: http://articles.uwph...ans_Lobster.htm

#11 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 10:57 PM

My wife Colette, Ptit and I have been having a discussion offline about the origins and meanings of "a la plancha" in its Spanish, French and English contexts.

The origin as best I can trace it is to "to the plate," that is things, usually fish, cuttlefish, scallops, but also beef or veal, grilled very swiftly and served very quickly "to the plate."

In Paris, last week, however, Colette's scallops had a sauce and looked all the world like they were sauteed the old-fashioned way, even in a frying pan, and then sauced. 

Wherein apparently comes the second meaning, grilled or sauteed on a special metalic flat surface which according to one source is specifically a "1/8 of an inch (3mm) thick" and elsewhere (which I cannot find just now) states that the metal imparts a special taste.

Anyone have anything clarifying to add?

View Post


John, at any fine dining restaurant in the US the term plancha refers to a specific piece of cooking equipment and "a la plancha" refers to something cooked on that piece of equipment. A plancha looks exactly like flat stainless steel griddle that every greasy spoon in America has, except its surface is chrome plated and the build quality of the units tends to be high because they're considered prestige items. For some reason planchas seem always to be six square feet. I believe Spain was the leader in introducing this technology, which is why chefs in France and the US call it by a Spanish name.

While the attention of late has been focused on sous-vide equipment as the technology of the moment, the plancha is also an important piece of modern kitchen equipment. It allows wonderful minimalist preparations, especially of fish. Ed Brown of the SeaGrill in New York has achieved great results with the plancha, and the Alain Ducasse Formation (the Ducasse culinary training center) emphasizes the plancha as an important tool.

I'm not sure I'd say the chrome plating imparts a particular taste. I think it's more that the chrome plating over a thick steel or aluminum mass allows a certain kind of result. If you sautee fish in a skillet you bring the skillet and a lot of fat up to a high temperature, and when you add the fish the temperature of the pan drops. On the plancha you maintain a constant medium temperature across the surface. I've heard the effect described as "gently toasting" the fish. The flat surface also makes it easy to put a long spatula under a delicate filet and flip it whole.

There's actually a Ducasse-published book of plancha recipes, with the silly title Plancha Mania. It's not yet available in English, but here's the French synopsis:

http://www.bief.org/...6112&language=F

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#12 BigboyDan

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 11:30 PM

A plancha is simply a refined griddle: http://www.plancha-b...om/caisson.html

#13 degusto

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 03:15 AM

Lobster - Brittany vs Blue

A few months ago, I saw in Le Louis XV menu that they separate these 2 lobsters in their menu (Basically, one menu is Brittany Lobster ...... and the other one is Blue Lobster from their own tank), I thought they're different. Are French lobster pretty much all blue lobster?

View Post


I doubt the distinction was made on purpose. As far as I know, le Louis XV gets lobsters from a fish monger in Brittany with their own boats. However, it happens that one of the local fishermen around Monaco that they work with catch a Mediterranean lobster in their nets and it may then be bought by Le Louis XV but that is so unusual that they will not have it on the menu.

View Post


The distinction is on purpose. Le Louis XV distinguishes between five different types of asparagas on it's menu. Lobsters: http://articles.uwph...ans_Lobster.htm

View Post

I am not sure what you want to prove with the pictures from Norwegian waters. All those with claws are "blue lobsters", these are the colour variations they come in. I have fished lobster in Scandinavia by the way. All lobsters from the waters are blueish as they are in Brittany. They come in different colour variations but they are always blueish as long as they are European lobster. (It may be noted that there are colonies of American lobsters in Scandinavia which are not blue). Also, the colours on the pictures are likely impacted by the light used underwater so they are not really true to what they look like when they are on land in daylight.

What I tried to say above is that Brittany lobsters (homard not langouste because there are those in Brittany too) are blue as long as they are European lobsters and are consequently sold as homard bleu. But European lobsters from Scottland or from Scandinavia are also blue and can consequently be sold and are sold as a homard bleu in France.

So the distinction cannot be on purpose unless they for one dish are unsure of the origin of the lobster, which I doubt is the case.

The reason Le Louis XV distinguishes from different asparagus is simply that they apart from often using several different types of asparagus from Robert Blanc in Villelaure, also often use wild asparagus from the local hills.

EDIT: To clarify I am abov talking about what is known and sold as homard bleu in France. Not the extremely rare examples of American lobsters that, due to a genetic defect turn blue.

Edited by degusto, 13 January 2007 - 04:59 AM.

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#14 BigboyDan

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 03:13 PM

Degusto,

I am NOT an expert on lobsters. My comment above only concerned that Le Louis XV does know exactly where their lobsters come from (and the names of the boat crew), as they would any other product. The menu that Le Louis XV is all-but a formal document, so much goes into its developement...

#15 pstock

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 10:02 AM

years ago, before the Mad Cow scare, at a bistro in Paris, I had a delicious dish which was basically veal spinal marrow with a parsley-garlic sauce. (It looked like and had a texture like gnocchi.)

I've been trying to remember the french term for this (now probably banned) dish. IT was something like "amonette", "aumonette", .....

can anyone help me here?

Peter

#16 Magictofu

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 10:59 AM

years ago, before the Mad Cow scare, at a bistro in Paris, I had a delicious dish which was basically veal spinal marrow with a parsley-garlic sauce. (It looked like and had a texture like gnocchi.)

I've been trying to remember the french term for this (now probably banned) dish. IT was something like "amonette", "aumonette", .....

can anyone help me here?

Peter

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I think you are talking about "amourette"... a word that also mean something like "short lived love" or "light love relationship" (I'm not a very good translator).

#17 Felice

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 11:25 AM

Yes it's 'amourette(s)'--which refers to either beef or veal spinal marrow
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#18 LRunkle

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 01:27 PM

Are you referring to the spinal cord or is there actual marrow to be found in veal vertebrae?

#19 Ptipois

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 03:31 AM

Are you referring to the spinal cord or is there actual marrow to be found in veal vertebrae?

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Spinal cord.

#20 bleudauvergne

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 12:56 PM

For the parsley and garlic seasoning, you may want to remember "en persillade".

Bon appetit! :cool:

#21 Domestic Goddess

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 09:39 PM

I am so glad to hear that other people also eat the spinal cord like me. It's one of my favorite part of the "bones". Whether pork or veal...
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#22 gfron1

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 01:35 PM

I'll spare you the true confessions of all of my mis-pronounciations of various pastry terms (of many languages). But, I have heard schooled pros making many of the same mistakes, so here is my attempt at correcting my pronounciation of the pastries I have made. Anyone want to help us phonetically challenged bakers?

Tuile (I called them twees forever)
Genoise (My friend called it a jen-oy-see)
Crepe (Not creep, but is crehp more appropriate than crayp)
Bavaroise (bahvahrah, bahvahwah...)
Dacquoise (duhqwah, dahqwah...)
Gesztenyetorte (I won't even try)
Macaron (French, not coconut)

(I can't even check my spelling because there are so many errors on the internet.)

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#23 Mikeb19

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 02:05 PM

Tuile - Two-eel
Genoise - J-eh-nwah-ze
Crepe - Creh-pe
Bavarois - Ba-va-rwah
Bavaroise (as in creme bavaroise) - Ba-va-rwah-ze
Dacquoise - dack-wah-ze
Macaron - Ma-ca-rohn

#24 Joe Blowe

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 03:28 PM

Sfogliatelle = shfoo-ya-dell or schvee-a-dell :laugh:
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#25 andiesenji

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 06:43 PM

Gesztenyetorte or Gesztenye torta
Hungarian chestnut cake
geh sten ye tor ta

in certain regions of Hungary a bit of a y sound at the beginning
and alternate spelling, gestenyepür torta or
yeah sten ye pür tor ta

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#26 Terrasanct

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 10:42 PM

How about cannelles? Does it have two syllables or three? I need to learn French just so I can pronounce all this stuff.

#27 fanny_the_fairy

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 04:53 AM

Sometimes (and I mean once or twice a year, at max), I actually feel happy to be French. It makes the whole pronunciation matter a lot easier.

If you need any help with French words, I should be able to answer your questions.

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#28 fanny_the_fairy

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 05:03 AM

How about cannelles?  Does it have two syllables or three?  I need to learn French just so I can pronounce all this stuff.

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Do you mean canelle as in cinnamon or canelés (small custrady pastries from Bordeaux)?

cannelle: ca-neh-le
canelé: ca-nəh-leh (ə being like euh)

And btw, the last syllabe of macaron= ron, is pronunced like r-on (ON as in ONtario not turn ON the music).
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#29 prasantrin

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 05:08 AM

And btw, the last syllabe of macaron= ron, is pronunced like r-on (ON as in ONtario not turn ON the music).

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To this Canadian, "Ontario" and "on" have the same initial vowel sound... :huh:

I always have trouble with millefeuille. I know the "mille" part, but I get stuck on the "feuille" part. French pronunciation was never my strong point, and that's why I quit as soon as I was legally allowed!

Edited by prasantrin, 14 October 2007 - 05:14 AM.


#30 fanny_the_fairy

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 05:17 AM

And btw, the last syllabe of macaron= ron, is pronunced like r-on (ON as in ONtario not turn ON the music).

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To this Canadian, "Ontario" and "on" have the same initial vowel sound... :huh:

I always have trouble with millefeuille. I know the "mille" part, but I get stuck on the "feuille" part. French pronunciation was never my strong point, and that's why I quit as soon as I was legally allowed!

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Oh well, I asked my British boyfriend, and to him, on is more like onnnnnn (yep, I'm slightly exagerating) while the vowel sounds 'shorter' in ontario.

Edited by fanny_the_fairy, 14 October 2007 - 05:18 AM.

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