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How to talk about food in French : The Art of Eating

talk about food in french

The French are known for turning anything into an art form.  Food is not just a food, it’s an expression of your mood, lifestyle and culture.

In the term of language, food makes a good part of our daily conversations. Don’t miss this lesson, if you are learning French.

After today’s lesson, you’ll be able to talk about your favorite food in French, express when you feel hungry or thirsty, compliment the chef, and get ready to eat à la française.

Breakfast, Lunch and Diner in France

Eating is an art in France, and people appreciate fine cuisine. During holidays, meals can last for several hours, even if it is a holiday meal.

During the week, breakfast is usually eaten between 6 am and 8 am and is usually quite short. The typical French breakfast consists of a hot drink (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) and bread (baguette) or pastries (croissant, brioche). Jam, honey, etc. can also be served.

It is customary in France and Switzerland to have a cooked meal for lunch, typically between 12 pm and 2 pm. The lunch break often lasts about an hour.

Dinner is typically served between 6 pm (Belgium, Canada) and 8pm (France).

In France, there is typically a main course and dessert, as well as a first course (soup, grated vegetables, or sliced raw meat).

Take a look at the most common French words around the meals.

  • le repas – meal
  • le petit-déjeuner– breakfast
  • le déjeuner – lunch
  • le dîner – diner
  • main course – le plat principal
  • le dessert – dessert
  • la cuisine – kitchen, cooking
  • le restaurant – restaurant
  • la salle à manger – dinning room

In this video, you can learn about the French gastronomy, and the eating lifestyle.

To be Hungry/ Thirsty in French

Many French learners get confused when they want to express being hungry or thirsty.

It’s because the verb used in French to express being hungry or thirsty (even sleepy) is avoir (verb to have).

In English and many other languages, it’s the verb etre, that is used. Hence, the confusion.

avoir faim  – to be hungry

J’ai faim.

l am hungry.

  • J’ai faim.
  • Tu as faim.
  • Il a faim.
  • Elle a faim.
  • Nous avons faim.
  • Vous avez faim.
  • Ils ont faim/ Elles ont faim.

avoir soif – to be thirsty

Il a soif.

He is thirsty.

  • J’ai soif.
  • Tu as soif.
  • Il a soif.
  • Elle a soif.
  • Nous avons soif.
  • Vous avez soif.
  • Ils ont soif.

Here is a little song in French to help you remember “J’ai faim/ J’ai soif.

Food Vocabulary in French

Vegetables in French

  • l’ail – garlic
  • l’onion – onion
  • la carotte– carrot
  • la citrouille – pumpkin
  • la courgette – zucchini
  • la pomme de Terre – potato
  • le céleri – celery
  • le champignon – mushroom
  • le chou– cabbage
  • le broccoli – broccoli
  • la tomate – tomato
  • le concombre– cucumber
  • le gingembre– ginger
  • le haricot vert– green bean
  • le chou-fleur – cauliflower
  • le radis – radish
  • le poivron– pepper
  • les épinards – spinach
  • les haricots– beans
  • les pommes de terre – potatoes

Fruits in French

  • l’ananas (m)– pineapple
  • l’orange (f) – orange
  • la banane – banana
  • la cerise – cherry
  • la figue – fig
  • la fraise – strawberry
  • la framboise– raspberry
  • la noisette – hazelnut
  • la pastèque – watermelon
  • la pêche – peach
  • la poire – pear
  • la pomme – apple
  • la prune – plum
  • le citron – lemon
  • le kiwi – kiwi
  • le melon – melon
  • le raisin– grape

Milk, Dairy, Cheese in French

  • la crème – cream
  • la crème épaisse – double cream
  • la crème fouettée – whipped cream
  • la glace ice-cream
  • le beurre – butter
  • le fromage râpé – grated cheese
  • le lait – milk
  • le milk-shake – milkshake
  • le pudding – pudding
  • le yaourt – yogurt
  • les oeufs – eggs

Bread and Pastry in French

  • le bagel – bagel
  • la baguette – baguette
  • le pain – bread
  • le pain au chocolat – chocolate bread
  • le pain aux raisins secs – fruit bread
  • les pâtes  pasta
  • le pita – pita bread
  • le pain tranché – sliced bread
  • le pain grillé – toast
  • le pain blanc – white bread

Complimenting the Chef in French

pexels ron lach 8922190 (1)

C’est excellent

Using this phrase will reassure your host that their cooking skills are excellent. It can be used in any setting, formal or informal.

Vous ne trouvez pas que c’est trop cuit ?-You don’t find it overcooked?

Ah, non, c’est excellent ! – Oh, no, it’s excellent!

C’est délicieux / c’est un délice

The phrase ‘that cake is delicious’ or ‘that cake is delightful’ has the same meaning: Ce gâteau est un délice – ‘that cake is delightful’. You can use it for anything, not just sweets, although it does ring true when referring to dessert.

Oh-là-là, cette tarte est vraiment délicieuse !

Oh my, this tart is really delicious.

Je me régale !

I am loving this dish! Se régaler means ‘to take pleasure’ and  rather than referring to something that is objectively delicious, it refers to how you personally feel about the food in front of you.

C’est vraiment bon / très bon

These two phrases mean ‘it’s great, and either one is a safe choice in any setting in which you want to be complementary, but not overdo it. You could say that a course is average – definitely not Michelin star material – but a more relaxed c’est très bon, je trouve.

C’est trop bon / super bon / ultra bon 

Younger crowds tend to use this expression to express enjoyment. When you are in a casual crowd and enjoying a dish, you can say

Wow, ce plat est ULTRA bon.

“Wow, this dish is SO delicious.”

C’est une tuerie !

‘C’est une tuerie’ translates to literally meaning ‘it’s deadly, and it means that something is really good like your taste buds have died and gone to heaven. As this is quite colloquial, avoid using it in a formal setting, save it for dinners with friends.

Ce pain au chocolat est une vrai tuerie –

‘This chocolate pastry is a real killer’.

talk about food and eating in french language

For the Love of Food

We hope this lesson inspired your taste buds to try out some delicious French plates and deserts.

Cooking French recipes is a great way to learn food vocabulary in French, verbs around cooking and most of all, practice your cooking skill.

You’ll realize, the language is not only about speaking. It’s about tasting as well.

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