Rick Stein's Secret France

In his new book, Rick travels down through Secret France in search of fab new recipes and produce

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Try the dishes on our menus

We've added a few dishes from Secret France to our menus - including mussels with poulette sauce

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Coq au Riesling recipe

This is an oh so comforting dish from Rick's Secret France book and series - perfect to make at home this winter

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Learn to cook the dishes

To celebrate the book we've put together a new one day cookery course where you'll discover five of the recipes

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Two day Secret France

Join Head Chef Lecturer Nick and our team in Padstow on a two day discovery of dishes from Secret France

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Eat with us

Eat with us

Book a table to enjoy fresh seafood, simply cooked and try some of Rick's favourite dishes.

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Secret France sees Rick travel from Dieppe in the very north of the country, winding his way down to Cassis in the south – always on the look out for exciting new recipes and produce to cook with (or drink). Rick says: “I owe my love of food and restaurants to early trips to Brittany. A cold clear breeze in April with a smell of seaweed on it, a first plateau de fruits de mer – cockles, clams, mussels and oysters -all somehow repeating that fragrant coldness. The produce was exquisite and the memory stays with me.”  Discover more below about each episode, including where Rick visits and what he eats.

Get the book

Order a signed copy of the book, which includes 120 new recipes to recreate for your friends and family at home here. 

Try the dishes in our restaurants

You can look forward to trying some of the dishes from Secret France on our menus this autumn – including mussels with poulette sauce (bacon, shallots cider and crème fraîche), braised fillet of brill with ceps and chestnuts, poached lobster risotto and chicken fricasse with morels. Choose a restaurant here.

Learn to cook the recipes

To celebrate Secret France, Head Chef Lecturer Nick at our cookery school in Padstow has put together three fab new foodie experiences for 2020.

One day cookery course – £198 | Two day cookery course  – £360Tasting evening – £35

Secret France episode guide

Rick’s Secret France adventure begins in the very north of the country, straight off the ferry in Dieppe. Across the six-part series he will meander his way down through the highways and bi-ways of Secret France to bring you his traditional blend of authentic recipes and tips galore for your foodie travels. Rick’s first thoughts on French soil take his mind to moules mariniére, herring open sandwiches, grilled sole and whelks with mayonnaise – all fresh seafood, simply cooked.

The first restaurant stop of the trip is Dieppe’s very appropriately named, Le Turbot Restaurant – located on Quai de la Cale. Turbot, probably Rick’s favourite fish, is of course a popular choice on the menu, so Rick tries salt baked turbot with ceps. This is followed by a pastime that Rick enjoys back home in Cornwall, cold water swimming – the channel is on the nippy side in comparison to the Camel Estuary though. After this, he stopped by Cafe de Tribunaux, a relaxed little place made famous by a certain Oscar Wilde – Dieppe being a place that held happy memories of his honeymoon. Back onto the subject of food and Rick heads to Les Voiles D’Or where he meets Michelin stared chef, Tristan Arhan. On the menu is a dish very much to Rick’s liking, simply cooked John Dory with asparagus, mashed potato and a light shellfish sauce – delish!

In his French hideaway kitchen, Rick cooks up his recipe of mussels with poulette sauce – a perfect weeknight supper or weekend lunch to recreate this autumn. The mussels are paired with a sauce of chicken stock, bacon lardons, crème fraiche, a little wine and some parsley. You can also try this dish on the menu at St Petroc’s BistroFalmouth and Marlborough. Next up, Rick is on the move towards Le Crotoy where he finds a fab fresh fish stall selling pollock, moules and weaver fish. This is followed by a spot of foraging with Reneé Michon – they went on a hunt for sea asters, also known as pigs’ ears, sea purslane and marsh samphire. This was a seriously muddy experience, but the worthwhile treasure hunt formulated a simple recipe of new potato and sea aster salad.

After some musings with Francois Bergez about whether French food is in decline, Rick returns to the kitchen to share the recipe for seafood gratin with caramelised apples – a dish he discovered at Le Newhaven restaurant in Dieppe. Much like mussels with poulette sauce, this is sure to be a comforting family favourite throughout autumn and winter. Big chunks of white fish in a smooth white sauce, topped with cheesy panko breadcrumbs with some sticky caramelised apple on the side to contrast.

Rick continues south towards Champagne, stopping en route at the Beaumont-Hamel WW1 Memorial, where he chats to historian Sylvestre Bresson about the Battle of the Somme, noting that there were 600 people in his school photo – but 100 times that died on the first day of the battle. This was followed by a trip to Essoyes, hometown of Aline Charigot, the wife of the famous painter Auguste Renoir – a must visit for any art lovers out there.

For his final recipe demonstration, Rick cooks the typically French rabbit stew with Dijon mustard, stating “It’s one of those dishes that fills me with happy and eager anticipation when I see it on the menu at a restaurant.” Proper, rustic French cookery at its best. The episode draws to a close with some artisan charcuterie at Maury Patrick – home of award-winning andouillette, a coarse-grained sausage made with pork or veal intestines, pepper, wine, onions, and seasonings. Rick tries it cooked in a dish with Dijon mustard, crème fraiche and ratafia – not to everyones liking, but Rick is rather fond of andouillette.

Don’t miss next week’s episode when Rick’s Secret France journey continues to Alsace, Jura and Burgundy.

Order your signed copy of Secret France here.

Discover how to cook the dishes at our cookery school here.

Try the dishes on our menus here.

Episode two of Rick Stein’s Secret France begins with him pondering Alsace – is it in France? Is it in Germany? It’s most definitely France, but the area takes inspiration from these two great countries as well as Switzerland too. His first food experience takes him to a cosy little restaurant in Itterswiller, 30 minutes drive south west of Strasbourg, called Winstub Arnold. Here Rick tries a traditional dish from the region, choucroute garnie – cabbage with sausages and other salted meats and charcuterie, and often potatoes. Rick describes it as the fruits de mer for meat lovers. Following this he meets Christophe Frey a game hunter based in the lush forests of Fréland, who with his wife Amélie runs Art-Boucherie – a celebration of game sausages, pies, terrines and smoked hams. Of course, Rick had to sample some of their creations, tucking into game charcuterie and wild boar stew – totally lovely with a glass of Pinot Nior. A trip to Alsace wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a vineyard. So, Rick stops off at Josmeyer Winery to meet the youngest member of the Meyer family, Celine, to sample their prized bio-dynamically made Pinot Gris, punchy at 14%. Ideal with a dish from their kitchen – duck confit and green lentil salad.

Back in his kitchen hideaway in the Provence countryside Rick shares his recipe for tarte flambé – in his words ‘French pizza of cheese and ham’. Thin, savoury dough topped with crème fraiche, onion, bacon lardons and Emmental. A great dish to share with friends or to enjoy cold for lunch throughout the week. His wine trail then continues to Jura in search of Savagnin wine  and the famous vin jaune and vin de paille, taking in the beautiful Jura mountains en route – some of which date back to the Jurassic period. First up, he heads for lunch at Restaurant La Boissaude which is right on the Swiss border, savouring cote de boeuf with baked potato. What a comforting combination, especially when the beef is cooked over a large open fire. Heaven for Rick. As well as wine, the area is also famous for its Comté cheese. Rick learns all about its history and how it’s made at Marcel Petite with Affineur (like a cheese sommelier) Claude Querry. Like wine and spirits masters, the Marcel Petite cellar masters are subtly leading the affinage of each Comté wheel by searching continuously for its best expression – they use all of their senses to bring about the finest Comté. With cheese on the mind, Rick’s next stop is, wait for it… Restaurant du Fromage. As the names suggests, cheese as at the heart of all the dishes on the menu – Rick somehow manages eight courses, including leg of chicken stuffed with mushrooms and Comté cheese with a morel sauce, potato omelette with St Pointe cheese and smoked ham, raclette and chevre chaud de Jura a la crème.

Following a cheese fest in Jura, Rick demonstrates the recipe for a dessert that he enjoyed at Restaurant La Boissaude, blueberry (or bilberry if you can get them) tart. The tart case is stuffed with fruit and a light egg custard – simply divine with a good dollop of crème fraiche. Back on the road, Rick travels south west to Burgundy in search of more fantastic wine and food – such a lovely part of France to drive through. On his arrival, he pays a visit to Louhans Poultry Market to find out about the Rolls Royce of the chicken world, Poulet de Bresse. Some of the local breeders have been raising this prince among poultry here since Roman times, and it’s the only chicken in the world to be protected, like a famous wine, by an Apellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC)! After hearing so much about this special bird, Rick tires it cooked with spinach and rice at the Aire Poulet de Bresse motorway services.

For the final recipe demonstration of the episode, Rick cooks up chicken legs stuffed with mushrooms and Comté – it’s on page 153 in the Secret France book and it’s bound to be a winner with your family and friends this winter. As Rick states “one of the highlights of his trip”. You can also try it on the menu this winter at Rick Stein, Marlborough – ably cooked by Head Chef Kev and his team. He brings the episode to an end by enjoying the typically French delicacies of snails in garlic butter and oeufs en meurette (poached eggs in a red wine sauce) with Tom Kevill-Davis from The Hungry Cyclist Lodge which is in the heart of the Burgundy Wine region. Watch next week for much more from Burgundy and Auvergne.

Order your signed copy of Secret France here.

Discover how to cook the dishes at our cookery school here.

Try the dishes on our menus here.