This is a preview of the content in our French Food Decoder app. Get the app to:
  • Read offline
  • Remove ads
  • Access all content
  • Use the in-app Map to find sites, and add custom locations (your hotel...)
  • Build a list of your own favourites
  • Search the contents with full-text search functionality
  • ... and more!
iOS App Store Google Play



Olive oil

Here are the oils you’re most likely to find in a French shop:

huile d’arachide: peanut or ground nut oil. Said to be the best for frites.

huile d'avocat: avocado oil. Not common, but excellent for frying foods at high temperatures (520°F/271°C).

huile de carthame: safflower oil

huile de colza: rapeseed oil

huile de maïs: corn oil

huile d’olive: olive oil. See olives for more on the French varieties.

huile de noisette: hazelnut oil.

huile de noix: walnut oil. Delicious on salads

huile de palme: palm oil

huile de pépin de courge: pumpkin seed oil, fairly rare outside health food stores

huile de pépins de raisins: grape seed oil, recommended for a fondue Bourguignonne

huile de sésame: sesame oil, made from grilled sesame seeds, with a nutty flavour, sold in the Asian section of the supermarket. There is also a sesame oil made with non-grilled seeds that is supposed to have health benefits.

huile de son de riz: rice bran oil. Anti-cholesterol, antioxydant, Omega-3 oil recommended by cardiologists; in health food stores.

huile de tournesol: sunflower oil. France makes a lot but still has to import some to meet demand.

Sauces and condiments

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Oregon State University