Is There French Dressing in France?

When I was growing up, “French” was always my favorite salad dressing. Needless to say I was a bit dismayed to discover, upon moving to Paris in 1995, that there’s no similarity between the American version of “French Dressing” and the vinaigrette that is actually served. The French tend to use just oil and vinegar, as well as some herbs, salt, pepper and perhaps mustard. But never tomato paste nor cream, so it’s neither reddish nor the creamy orange shade you see in the bottle in this photo.

There are probably two or three different salad dressing flavors found in the average French supermarket, maybe a few more exotic ones in the gourmet markets. But when you’re in a french restaurant, don’t expect your server to run down the list of available dressings for your salad. You get the dressing the chef puts on it (you can, if you ask nicely, ask for it without the dressing or served on the side).

If you find you can’t live without your French, Creamy Ranch, or Thousand Island dressing, you can get it in the American section of the Grande Epicerie (along with a few other colorful American foods the French find either fascinating or repulsive). I’m sure the “Naturally helps better absorb vitamins A & E” tagline on the bottle will have them scratching their heads (and wondering why it’s not sold in the pharmacy as a health supplement).

3 Responses to “Is There French Dressing in France?”

  1. Comment by Kelly | 04/25/11 at 10:42 pm

    I was dissappointed to find there is no Candadian bacon in Canada. Who is giving all of these food misnomers?

  2. Comment by Sarah | 04/26/11 at 8:53 pm

    I was so happy to find French Dressing at the Grande Epicerie!!! I am not a fan of the “Traditional French” dressing and was dying to taste some American dressing! I am happy now that I can make my salad just like as if I was at home in Canada!!

  3. Comment by Patricia | 05/30/11 at 2:58 pm

    Kelly, as a Canadian, I can tell you there there most certainly is Canadian Bacon. It’s also known as back bacon or peameal bacon.

    The dressing you find in French restaurants is simple and much better than something from a bottle. Enjoy the simplicity of the flavours.

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