The French Pantry: basics you should always have at home

By Valentine Benoist

Even if you’re not much of a home cook, there are some French food staples you should always have at hand to jazz up your daily recipes. Here a few of our personal favourites. 

The French Pantry: basics you should always have at home

In this article

Dijon mustard 

The French way: in vinaigrette and mayo, with meat, in sandwiches… A condiment from the Burgundy region, PGI Burgundy mustard is essential to literally everything French food!
The British twist: for an extra kick, spread Dijon mustard in your toastie, or add it to your full French breakfast.  
Where to find it: widely available in supermarkets



The French way: Kid’s favourite, the coquillettes-jambon-beurre is a French institution. Small shell macaroni pasta, ham and a generous knob of melting butter — if you’re in luck, you may also get a handful of grated emmental cheese in there too. 
The British twist: try it with some ham hock or swap the emmental for cheddar!
Where to find them: Ocado


A good saucisson 

The French way: a classic charcuterie for apéro, it’s best enjoyed au naturel, thinly sliced with bread, butter and cornichon for a much welcome acidity. 
The British twist: think crackers and small, crunchy pickles instead of the bread and cornichons association. 
Where to find it: widely available, but it’s always best to get the artisan ones from your local French deli, with a natural casing — like this Basque Jésus from Provisions in London. 


Fleur de sel 

The French way: from the salt marshes of Guérande or Camargue, these salt flakes are the delicate final touch, always bringing this little je ne sais quoi when sprinkled on a dish. 
The British twist: try adding a pinch of salt to all your traditional desserts — it truly brightens up an apple crumble or a sticky toffee pudding. Proof is this chocolate lava cake recipe
Where to find it: Fine Food Specialist, Ocado



The French way: obviously, no French pantry would be complete without wine. Used for cooking and drinking alike, it’s impossible not to have at least one bottle of red and one chilled white waiting to be cracked open. Classic uses include a well-deserved glass at the end of the day or an impromptu Muscadet drunken mussels kind of evening. 
The British twist: how about pimping your steak and ale pie with beef bourguignon vibes? Follow your usual recipe, but simmer the beef in red wine instead! 
Where to find it: French wine is everywhere! For a cracking selection of French wines delivered throughout England, head over to restaurant institution St. John’s own label, featuring twelve different cuvées sourced across France. 


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