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A-Z of French Culinary Terms (A)
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Added Date: 22/01/2007

Abatis Giblets of fowl
Abats Offal - kidneys, liver, heart etc.
Abegnades / Abignades (Gascogne) Goose tripe and blood on fried bread with lemon.
Ablette Small freshwater fish, bleak, used specially in fritures
Abondance Lit.: “abundance” (Savoie). Firm, smooth, round cheese, made from milk of the cow of the Abondance breed around the town of Abondance; also known as Tomme d’Abondance,
Abricot Apricot. Oreillons d’abricot: halved apricots. Abricots Colbert: poached, filled with rice and deep-fried; à la diable: poached, glazed on macaroons.
Abricotine Apricot and brandy liqueur.
Absinthe Wormwood, aromatic plant, used to flavour vermouth, and formerly for the potent drink of the same name, now banned in France.
Abusseau Type of sea smelt.
Acacia Acacia tree with yellow blossoms, which may be made into fritters or a liqueur.
Acajou Lit.: “mahogany”. Noix d’acajou: name for cashew nut (anacarde).
Acanthe Acanthus, plant whose leaves can be eaten in salads.
Acarne Name for the sea bream (pagre).
Acave Variety of snail.
Aceline Freshwater fish similar to perch.
Achard Spicy vegetable or fruit pickle.
Ache (des Marais) Wild celery.
Acidulé(e) Acid, acidulated.
Actinie Name for sea anemone (tomate de mer).
Addition Bill at the end of a meal.
Adèle Consommé Adèle: clear soup with peas, carrots and chicken quenelles.
Adeline Salade Adeline: salsify, tomato and cucumber salad.
Admirable Lit.: “admirable”. Variety of table grape.
Adobo de Patassoun (Provence) Jerusalem artichoke stew with wine, tomatoes and bacon.
Aeglé Ugli fruit, cross between grapefruit and tangerine.
Affiné(e) Refined, sometimes used to describe cheeses.
(A l’) Africaine African-style garnish of mushrooms, aubergines, tomatoes and potatoes.
(A l’)Agathoise In the style of Agde in Languedoc.
Agneau Lamb. See carré, côtelette, épaule, gigot, noisette, selle, for the major cuts. Agneau de lait: baby, milk-fed lamb, also known as agnelet. Agneau pascal: spring lamb.
  (Agneau de) pré-salé: lamb grazed in salt meadows, particularly on the Atlantic coast, giving it a special flavour.
Agnès Sorel Mistress of CharlesVII. Garnish of chicken mousse, mushrooms and ox tongue. Crème Agnès Sorel: cream of chicken soup with mushrooms and ox tongue.
Agon Small fish similar to sardine.
Agoursi Ridged, Russian cucumber, usually salted and sliced as a first course.
Agulia/Agulio (Provence) Local names for two fish – aiguillat and aiguille.
Aigle de mer Lit.: sea eagle. Bretagne : local name for skate (raie).
Aiglefin Haddock, also known as aigrefin, anon, églefi, égrefin, morue noire and (morue) Saint-Pierre, and as haddock when smoked.
Aigo (Provence) Garlic soup poured over slices of bread. Aigo bouido: garlic soup with oil and egg, perhaps cubes of fried bread, traditionally served to newly-weds and on Christmas Eve; also known as boulido and bullido. Aigo à la menagerie: onion,  leek, garlic and tomato soup with poached eggs. Aigo sa(o)u: fish and garlic soup similar to bouillabaisse, but without the rascasse and with potatoes, also known as bouillabaisse borgue or blanche.
Aigre Sour, bitter.
Aigre de Cèdre Variety of citron (cédrat)
(A l’)Aigre-doux (douce) Sweet-sour, bitter-sweet.
Aigrefin Name for haddock (aiglefin).
Aigrette Lit.: crest. Fritter, usually savoury and cheesy.
Aigrossade (Provence) Chick peas and vegetables with aioli.
Aiguebelle Green or yellow liqueur made near Valence.
Aiguillat Spur dog, type of small shark or dogfish; also known as chien de mer and agulia.
Aiguille  Lit.: needle. Garfish, a striking beaked sea fish with green bones and a delicious flavour; also known as orphie, aiguillette, bécassine de mer and agulio.
Aiguillette Long thin slice cut from the breast, of poultry or game. See also aiguille and pièce de boeuf.
Ail Garlic. Gousse d’ail: clove of garlic.
Rôti à  l’ail: garlic toast Soupe à l’ail: garlic soup with egg yolks/sliced bread.
Aile Wing of poultry, game birds
Aileron Wing tip, of poultry, game. Fin, of fish.
Aillada (Gascogne) Spicy garlic and oil sauce, served with snails.
Aïllade (S France) Mayonnaise-type sauce of pounded garlic, herbs, tomatoes and oil, similar to aïoli; sometimes added to stews, roasts etc. Aïllade Albigeoise: version of aïoli: à la toulousaine: aïoli with walnuts.
Aillé(e) Flavoured with garlic. Aillée : green part of garlic, used in Poitou.
Aïoli (S France) Garlic flavoured mayonnaise, sometimes with breadcrumbs added, or cooked seaweed and Pernod; also known as Ailloli and beurre de province. Essential accompaniment to bourride, and often served with fish, snails (a traditional Christmas Eve supper) or salad. Aïoli garni: salt cod with aïoli and vegetables, eaten especially on Fridays. Grand aioli: meat with aïoli. Aïoli à la grecque: vinaigrette with garlic and nuts, served with fish.
Airelle Name for different berries, including cranberry (airelle rouge) and bilberry. Also a spirit made from berries, especially in Alsace.
(A l’)Aixoise In the style of Aix-en-Provence; or of Aix-Les-Bains in Savoie.
Alapedo Name for lipet (Patelle).
Albarelle Type of fungus which grows on trees.
Alberge (Touraine) Local name for peach.
Albert Sauce Albert: creamy horseradish sauce, name after Prince Albert by Queen Victoria’s chef.
Albertine Sauce Albertine: white wine sauce with mushrooms and truffles for poached fish.
(A l’)Albigeoise In the style of Albi. Garnish of stuffed tomatoes, ham and potato croquettes. Soupe/potée albigeoise: meat soup with sausage, preserved  goose, vegetables and garlic.
Albignac Town in Limousin. Salade d’Albignac: truffle salad with crayfish, chicken, celeriac, hard-boiled eggs, lettuce etc.
(A la d’)Albuféra Elaborate chicken dish with truffles, cockscombs etc named after one of Napoleon’s generals, created Duc d’Albuféra in Spain. Sauce Albuféra: rich white sauce with pimento butter.
Alénois(e) Probable corruption of Orléanais, region once known for watercress. Soupe (au cresson) alénois: watercress soup.
Alevin Name for young fish (fretin).
(A l’)Algérienne Algerian style garnish of sweet potato croquettes and tomatoes, or tomato sauce with red peppers.
Algue (Rouge) Dulse, type of seaweed sometimes cooked like spinach.
Alicot/Alicuit Lit: wings cooked. Giblets and wings, especially of goose or duck, stewed with cèpes and chestnuts, also known as alycot and alycuit.
Alifranchiu (Corse) Local name for grey mullet.
Aligot (Auvergne, Rouergue) Fresh similar to Italian Mozarella, made in uncured cheese, basis for Cantal cheese and mountain dairies, also known as Tomme d’Aligot/Fraîche. The name perhaps derives from dialect “alicoter” - to cut. Puréed  potatoes with Aligot cheese and often garlic, also made into flat cakes.
Aligoté Variety of grape used in Bourgogne, giving fresh clean ordinary wines, the best grown in Bouzeron.
Alimentaire To do with nutrition, food.
Alimentation(s) Nutrition, food. Food shop, grocery.
Alise/Alisier Service berry/service tree, similar to rowan and sorbier. Also a spirit made from service berries, especially in Alsace.
Alisson (S France) Local name for sea urchin (oursin).
Alkékenge Strawberry tomato, sweet-sour fruit used in desserts and confectionery, also known as coqueret.
Allache Type of large sardine.
Alleluia (Languedoc) Small cake.
(A l’)Allemande German style garnish of noodles and mashed potato, roasted with cream or sour cream sauce of hare or venison. Sauce allemande: rich white sauce, also known as sauce parisienne. Salade allemande: apple, potato, gherkin, herring and onion salad.
Allumette Lit: match. Small strip of puff pastry, sweet or savoury. Pommes de terre allumette: matchstick chips.
ALLOSE Shad, migratory sea fish which comes rivers in spring, similar to herring but larger, with bony, tasty flesh; also known as finte. Found in the Gironde where it is often grilled over vine shoots or stuffed with sorrel, and in the Loire, where it may be served with beurre blanc. Alose à l’Adour: stuffed with sorrel and baked on ham: à l’avignonnaise: braised with sorrel and lemon; Claudine: slices baked with mushrooms, white wine and cream; à la mode de Cocherel: stuffed, wrapped in bacon, grilles, with potatoes, artichokes and onions; à la dacquoise: in white wine sauce with onions, grapes and ham. Freshwater shad, found in deep lakes.
ALOUETTE Lark, also known as mauviette; often made into pâté
ALOXE-CORTON Important commune of Côte de Beaune, Bourgogne, producing mainly red wine, for which its famous grand cru vineyard is Le Corton, and some white, including the grand cru Corton-Charlemagne (both overlap with neighbouring Pernand-Vergelesses); neighbouring Ladoix-Serrigny uses the name Aloxe-Corton for its best wines
ALLOUETTE DE MER Sandpiper, summer snipe, prepared like woodcock; also known as bécasseau, chevalier, guignette and maubèche
ALOYAU Sirloin, of beef, large joint including the contre-filet and rump.    
ALPHÉE Type of large prawn, similar to langouste
ALSACE Province of NE France, comprising the departments of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin. The wines of Alsace are most exclusively white and are unique in France in that, under the Appellation Contrôlée regulations, they are known by the names of grape varieties rather than of vineyard areas. The grapes are Chasselas, Sylvaner, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Muscat and Pinot Gris or Tokay d’Alsace; Pinot Noir is used for some light red or rosé wines. Wines from a mixture of grape varieties are called Edelzwicker, and a sparkling white wine is sold as Crémant d’Alsace. Although vineyard names are rarely seen, a new classification of grand cru has recently been introduced for some of the best (e.g. the Kaefferkopf from Ammerschwihr and the Sporen from Riquewihr).  
ALSACIENNE (A l’)Alsacienne In the style of Alsace. With choucroute, ham sausage, potatoes, foie gras - any or all. Of chicken, fish, cooked in local wine, often Riesling. Soupe à l’alsacienne: choucroute soup with potato dumplings.  
AMANDE Almond. Kernel, of fruit.
AMANDE DE ME Dog-cockle, small shellfish
AMANITE Family of fungi including coucoumelle and oronge
AMBASSADEUR Lit.: “Ambassador”. Potage ambassadeur: puréed pea soup with sorrel, lettuce and rice. Brand of aperitif, wine-based, flavoured with quinine, gentian, orange and herbs
AMÉRICAINE American style. Homard à l’américaine : lobster sautéed in oil with white wine, brandy, garlic, shallots and tomatoes ; also known as homard à l’amoricaine. Sauce américaine: lobster sauce. The origin of homard à l’américaine is controversial, some claiming that it was invented by the chef Pierre Fraisse, a native of Languedoc who spent a few years in America, others maintaining that it belongs to the legendary Armorica (Bretagne). With bacon and tomatoes. Oeufs à l’américaine frits: fried eggs and bacon with grilled tomatoes. Salade américaine: celeriac, celery or cucumber salad, with tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs.  
AMMOCÈTE Fish similar to Lamprey
AMOU (Gascogne) Farm-made sheep’s milk cheese with strong flavour,named after the nearest town
AMOURETTES Spinal bone marrow (moelle) usually of calves.
AMUSE-BOUCHE  Or Amuse- Guelle. Lit. “amuse mouth”. Appetizer, small snack, often serve with an aperitif before eating.
ANANAS Pineapple Ananas à amartiniquaise: hot with coffee and rum: royale: filled with fresh fruit soaked in kirsch
ANCHOYADE (provence,Corse) Anchovy,oil and garlic paste, sometimes with figs added, served with raw vegetables or spread on toast.
ANCIENNE  ( À L’) (Mode)  In the style of the “old school”. Now a fairly meaningless label sometimes describing braised beef. Formally it meant an elaborate garnish for chicken, veal, fish, eggs
ANCHOIS Anchovy,usually fillet and preserved but often used fresh in Provence. Anchois à la silésienne; cold with herring roes and potato and apple salad.
ANDOUILLE Type of sausage, generally pork, and made from a pig’s large intestine filled with strips of chitterling and stomach. Sold ready cooked, usually served cold as a first course
ANDALOUSE (À La) Andalalusian – style With tomatoes (e.g potage andalouse), plus as a garnish tomatoes plus as a garnish, rice, sweet and sweet peppers perhaps aubergines and sausages.
ANDOUILLETTE Type of sausage made like andouille  but using the small intestine of a pig. Served ready cooked, usually grilled and served hot with strong mustard and vegetables.
ANETH  Dill, the herb
ANGÉLIQUE Angelica. Plant whose candied stem is used in cakes and creams. Also an ingredient in some liqueurs such as Bénédictine
ANGLET (Charente) .Ring shaped cake.
ANGUILLE Eel. Usually caught in fresh water, although it is spawned and dies at sea ,( as opposed to the conger, or sea eel (congre ).  Anguille à la romaine : sliced, fried, with peas, lettuce and a white wine sauce.
ANGUILLE DE MER Name for Conger Eel (congre)
ANGUILLETES  (Pays basque) Tiny eels
ANIMELLES Testicles. Often fried in batter or poached and served with vinaigrette. Also known as rognans blanc, and as criadillas in the languedoc
ANNA Pommes ( de terre) Anna:  Potatoes cut into rounds and baked in layers with butter. Invented for Anna Deslions, 19th century courtesan
ANNOT (Provence) Mild  sheep or goat’s milk cheese made on farms.
ANONE Custard Apple. Tropical fruit often made into fritters or sliced and steeped in wine.
APOGON Name for red mullet (rouget)
APRON Small fish similar to perch
ARACHIDE Groundnut
ARIGNÉE DE MER Spider crab (lit. sea spider)  Araigné de mer à la libourdine  stuffed with coral, egg ,wild mint, sweet pepper and lemon.
ARAPÈDE Name for limpet
ARBENNE Snow partridge, found in mountains
ARBOUSE Arbutus berry, fruit of the strawberry tree, used for jams and jellies  Crème d’arbouse: sweet arbutus berry liqueur, made especially in Corsica.
ARCHIDUC  ( À La) Lit: “archduke’s style”. With paprika and cream, usually of chicken and eggs.
ARDENNAISE In  the style of the Ardennes region of France. With Juniper berries, especially in small game birds and pork. Pommes de terre à l’ardennaise: potatoes stuffed with eggs, ham, cheese and mushrooms: or fried in slices as a flat cake, with juniper berries
ARDI-GASNA (Pays Basque) Firm yellow sheep’s milk cheese, strong in flavour, made on mountain farms.
ARGENTEUIL  Town in France known for its asparagus.  Crème  Argenteuil; cream of asparagus soup
ARGENTINE Argentine, sea fish with silvery scales, similar to a sardine.
ARIÉGEOISE In the style of the Ariège region of France. With cabbage, salt pork and potatoes (e.g soupe  ariègeoise) with kidney beans
ARLÉSIENNE In the style of the town of Arles With tomatoes,  onions, aubergines, potatoes, rice or olives. Salade arlèsienne; potato and artichoke salad with tomatoes, olives, and anchovies
ARMAGNAC  Region in the south west of France, the second greatest brandy of France and must be sold at least one year old. If it bears VO, VSOP, or Reserve on the label it must be at least four years old. Hors d’age indicates it is a blend of spirits at least ten years old
ARMÉNIENNE Armenian style. Salade arménienne:  sweet pepper and celery said with mushrooms, bacon and garlic
ARMENONVILLE A Paris restaurant. Oeufs Armenonville; poached eggs on toast with sherry-flavoured white sauce
ARMOTTE ( Gascony) Maize flour cooked in goose fat; eaten hot in place of bread, or cold perhaps with sugar
AMILLAIRE Family of  mushroom with one variety especially prized around Nice
AROMATES Seasoning. Sauce aromates: white sauce with herbs
ARQUEBUSE Herb liqueur. Especially from the Lyon region
ARROCHE Similar to spinach, also known as  bonne-dame
D’ARTAGNAN Probably after the Dumas fictional hero. Garnish of mushroom ( cepes), stuffed tomatoes and potato croquettes. Consommè d’artagnan; clear beef and game soup with peas
ARTÉSIENNE In the style of Artois  Cooked with beer.
ARTICHAUT Globe artichoke. Two common varieties are the large round green ones from Brittany and the long violet type from Provence.  Foin d’artichaut;  choke of artichoke. Fond artichaut;  artichoke bottom
ARTICHAUT D’ESPAGNE Name for custard marrow
ARTICHAUT D’HIVER Name for Jerusalem artichoke also (topinambour)
ARTOIS Northern region of France Potage d’Artois; Haricot bean and vegatable soup
ARVÈZE Yellow gentian aperitif made in the Auvergne region of France
ASPERGE(S) Asparagus.  Pointe d’asperges; asparagus tip.  White, as opposed to green, asparagus is particularly esteemed in Northern France. Wild asparagus ( asperges sauvages) is also found,  especially in Provence.  Asperges à la flamande;  with sauce of hard boiled egg yolks and melted butter. À la Fontenelle; dipped in melted butter and soft-boiled eggs. À la la sibérienne; cold, on ice, with mayonaise
ASPERGILLE (Northern France) Local name for a small snail
ASPIC Aspic, Jelly. Cold dish set in aspic
ASSIETTE Plate, dish, both literally and figuratively.  Assiette anglaise; plate of cold meats with jelly, cress, and gherkins usually served at lunch. Assiette de fruits de mer: platter of mixed seafood and shellfish, cooked and raw. Assiette volante; selection of several items of food on one plate
ASSAISONNEMENT Condiment, seasoning, dressing
ASSORTI (-E) Assorted. mixed
ASTRODERME Vividly coloured fish common in the Mediterranean and used in boullabaisse.
ATHÈRINE Sandsmelt. Small common sea fish usually deep fried.
ATTELET Small metal skewer. Originally a kind of decorative hatpin threaded with truffles etc as garnish for grand dishes
ATTEREAU Metal skewer on which different ingredients are threaded. Food cooked in such a way, either savoury or sweet, first coated in sauce , rolled in breadcrumbs and (unlike brochettes), deep fried
ATTIGNOLE ( Fom Normandy). Baked meatball with jelly
AUBAZINE Aromatic liqueur from Aubazine in the Limousin region of France
AUBÉPINE Hawthorne. Whose berries are sometimes made into Jam
AUBERGINE Aubergine, eggplant, also known as melongène
AUMONIÈRE Lit.: “purse”. Oeufs frits en aumonière; fried eggs with fried bread, cheese and ham, in a pancake
AUMONIÈRE Lit.: “purse”. Oeufs frits en aumonière; fried eggs with fried bread, cheese and ham, in a pancake
AURIN (S.France) Local name for grey mullet.
AURORE Lit.: “dawn”, implying a red colour. Consommé aurore: clear soup with tomato and chicken. Sauce aurore; white sauce with tomato purée
AUTRICHIENNE In Austrian style. With paprika, and sometimes onion, fennel and cream.
AUVERGNATE (À L’) In the style of the Auvergne region of France. Oeufs auvergnate; Poached eggs with cabbage and sausages. Soupe à l’auvergnate; salt pork and cabbage soup often with other vegetables and meat
AVELINE Filbert, variety of hazelnut
AVEYRONNAISE (À L’) In the style of the Aveyron region of France. Soupe à l’aveyronnaise; cabbage and salt pork soup with haricots beans, preserved goose etc. poured over slices of bread.
AVOCAT Lit.: “lawyer”. Avacado pear. Avocat Fermont; hot, filled with poached egg and béarnaise sauce
AVOCETTE Small bird similar to wild duck, found especially in the Poitou region of France
AZIMINU (Corsica) Fish soup similar to bouillabaisse.
AXONGE Pork lard

Read the next piece(s) in this series...
A-Z of French Culinary Terms (Ba-Be)
A-Z of French Culinary Terms (Be-Bz)
A-Z of French Culinary Terms (Ca-Ch)

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