The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to French Food
French cuisine is renowned for its exquisite flavors, meticulous preparation, and rich history. It has influenced culinary traditions worldwide. While each country boasts a unique food culture, some nations have similar culinary traditions. The five countries with the most similar food are also located in Western Europe. Four of the five are predominately Catholic.
- Luxembourg is a country located to the north of France. Both nations bake high-quality bread, croissants, and pastries. French cheeses, like Brie and Camembert, are popular in Luxembourg as well. The country has a reputation for its fine dining scene, which draws inspiration from French culinary standards of excellence.
- Italy is France’s neighbor to the southeast. While the baguette is iconic in France, various types of bread, such as ciabatta and focaccia, are staples in Italian cuisine. Pastries and desserts, such as croissants in France and cannoli in Italy, showcase a shared love for baked goods. Cheese plays a crucial role in both Italian and French cuisines as well.
- Croatia is yet another country on this list that borders the Mediterranean coast. The coastal regions of both France and Croatia consume a lot of seafood. In France, Bouillabaisse is commonly eaten, while various seafood stews are popular in Croatia. The love for charcuterie and cured meats is evident in both nations as well.
- Portugal and France both border the North Atlantic Ocean, so their cuisine has a lot in common. Their diets tend to have a lot of seafood. Furthermore, France is famous for items like saucisson and jambon, while Portugal has its own similar cured meats, such as presunto. Both countries also love hearty stews too.
- Switzerland and France are famous for their heavy use of cheese in their cuisine, evident in dishes like fondue and raclette. Rich, creamy sauces reminiscent of French culinary traditions grace Swiss dishes, creating a delightful symphony of flavors. Both countries also share a love for hearty bread, sausages, and seasonal produce.
The Least Similar Cuisines to French Food
Four of the five countries with the least similar food to France are located in Africa. They also have a significantly warmer climate. Moreover, these countries are significantly less developed than France. Neither pork nor cheese are commonly eaten in these countries.
- Chad was once a colony of France, but it has little else in common with it. Its landscape is mostly desert. It is a sparsely populated, landlocked country. It heavily relies on staple foods like millet, sorghum, rice, corn, and beans, unlike France. Its people are mostly Muslim, so they do not consume a lot of pork.
- Micronesia is a group of small islands in the Pacific Ocean. The country’s isolation has limited its exposure to foreign influences. Coconuts are an important part of their cuisine. In addition, rice is the most commonly eaten grain in the country. However, both countries do eat a lot of seafood.
- South Sudan is another landlocked country in Africa. Cassava is its staple food, however sorghum is commonly eaten there as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the country. Peanuts and okra are also a much bigger part of its cuisine than France’s.
- Central African Republic is another African country that was once a French colony on this list. Cassava and yams are two of the most commonly eaten ingredients in the country. Furthermore, taro and bananas make a much greater share of the nation’s diet.
- Sierra Leone and France both border the Atlantic Coast, but they have little in common. Sierra Leone is a former British colony that is predominately Muslim. The vast majority of the nation’s diet is made up of starches, especially rice and cassava.
France’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Pork, Beef
Fruit: Banana, Apple
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Wheat, Potato
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.