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Updated: May 14, 2021

French food and drink is legendary and considered by many to be the zenith of the art of cuisine. Putumayo often features recipes in our collections, and here are some of our favorite recipes and cocktails from France and the Francophone world that have been featured in the liner notes of our albums.


Croque Monsieur/Croque Madame

Recipe provided by featured artist Constance Amiot

Croque Monsieur is a delicious ham and cheese sandwich made with gruyere, ham and a béchamel sauce, toasted in the oven. You can find a Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame sandwich in just about every French café.

Béchamel Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 2 tbsp flour

  • 1 1⁄4 cups milk, warmed

  • salt and pepper, to taste

Sandwich Ingredients (makes 2)

  • 4 slices white bread

  • 2 slices ham

  • 4 slices cheese of your choice 1 fried egg (optional)

Béchamel Sauce Directions

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat.

  2. Add flour, stirring constantly, until a clump-free paste is formed.

  3. Cook 2 minutes, or until bubbles form, without letting it brown.

  4. Add milk, continuing to stir as sauce thickens, and bring to a slight boil.

  5. Reduce heat to low, add salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes more.

Sandwich Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Spread a thin layer of béchamel sauce on each slice of bread.

  3. Top 2 slices of bread with a slice of ham and slice of cheese.

  4. Place 2 slices of bread on top, béchamel sauce side up, and top each with another slice of cheese.

  5. Place on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 5-6 minutes, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.

  6. To turn this into a Croque Madame, top the sandwich with a fried egg.


Tarte Tatin


  • 8 medium-sized Golden apples (about 3 Ibs)

  • 3.5 oz (100 g) of sugar (preferably turbinado or brown)

  • 2 oz (60 g) of unsalted butter, some of which will be used to butter skillet

  • A 12” (30 cm) round of dough about 1/16th-inch (1.5mm) thick


  1. Butter skillet generously.

  2. Pour sugar into buttered skillet and shake to distribute evenly.

  3. Rinse apples; dry, quarter and remove seeds.

  4. Lay quartered apples in single layer into skillet. Use smaller wedges to fill gaps so that dough rests on flat bed.

  5. Dot skillet with the rest of the butter.

  6. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

  7. Put skillet over fire on top of stove. Within minutes, contents will be bubbling and steam billowing out. Watch as color of syrupy liquid inside skillet slowly turns golden, take off fire when it reaches a nice hazel hue (somewhere between caramel and chocolate.) This typically takes 20 to 30 minutes when the volume of steam should be down considerably.

  8. Overlay round of dough. Tuck in edge slightly with wooden spoon.

  9. Put in warm oven until crust reaches nice golden color (about 25 to 30 minutes). Remove from oven, cover with inverted dish and flip over right away.

  10. If any apple chunks remains stuck to pan, remove with tongs and put back on tarte. Let cool for a bit and serve warm by itself.


French 75 (Cocktail)

A classic drink first created at the New York Bar in Paris in 1915. It got its name from its powerful kick which reminded people of the 75-millimeter gun used by the French in World War I.


  • 2 ounces Champagne

  • 1 ounce gin

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

  • 1/4 ounce St. Germaine (optional)

  • 1 Lemon twist


  1. Combine gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and St. Germaine (optional) in an ice-filled cocktail shaker.

  2. Shake for 10 seconds

  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass or flute

  4. Top with Champagne

  5. Garnish with lemon twist

Makes 1 drink


Pépa Cocktail

Named for the French silent film actress Pépa Bonafé, this invigorating cocktail is a great accompaniment for a continental dinner and evening of French chansons.


  • 1 1⁄2 oz. dry vermouth

  • 1 oz. cognac

  • 1 oz. vodka

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters Twist of lemon peel


  1. Stir vermouth, cognac, vodka, bits and crushed ice for 15 seconds until chilled.

  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.

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