How to say “I can’t eat foie gras”;


Ca va super ?


Today, I’m writing to you for 2 things:
– the episode of Comme une FrançaiseTV of the week (oui!)
– A special offer to celebrate the newest addition to the course family

First things first.

You know how sometimes we look horrified in front of a dish our kind hosts cooked for us?

We can’t eat it. It’s beyond our control. We can’t.
But we still wish to remain polite, kind, and not hurt their feelings.

In France, we have oysters, frog legs, tripes… and foie gras!
All delicious to some, disgusting to others.

How to say « Sorry I can’t eat this » in French without sounding hurtful and rude?
This is what you’ll learn in today’s episode of Comme une FrançaiseTV:

Now tell me in the comments:

Have you ever been served a dish you could not eat?

Was it in a restaurant? With friends? What was the dish?

I ask you this so we can share and discuss together in the comments section.

And there is more!

header MtF
To celebrate the second edition of Moving to France, we are launching a 3-day flash sale with 60€ off the normal price of this 6-week course.

« Moving to France » is for you if are moving to France before September. Or recently moved to France. And want to be in charge. Not being scammed, feeling lost and staying mute.

This course is not for you if you have no plan of Moving to France, as this course focuses on everyday challenges in France.

The course is open to men and women. 🙂

This limited-time offer will expire on Thursday Feb. 7 at 6PM (France Time).


Click here to claim your discounted seat on the Moving to France course.

And start reaping the benefits today.

I wish you a great week,

A la semaine prochaine,


PS: If you’re already enjoying Comme une Française, why not share this article with a friend?

Join the conversation!

  • My first day at boarding school (aged 11) everybody was given two pilchards on a plate for dinner. I had never seen these before – two small dead fish with scales, fins, eyes etc lightly covered with some red slime. I could not eat them so I mashed them up a bit and when the plates were piled-up at the end of the meal I put another plate on top of mine.

    The kitchen staff informed the headmaster, who asked for the culprit to own up, the whole school had to sit at the tables until I said it was me. I have not eaten fish since then. A shame as my wife enjoys it.

    • Hi Gus,
      The “sardines” (I didn’t know their English names!) are far from being easy to eat. I don’t like eating them either (all these small bones…). Sorry you don’t eat fish because of such a bad experience…

  • I will never forget a restaurant I went to because my friend knew the chef. I was there with my visiting parents, and the chef came out to greet us, once he knew of the connection. At the time, the restaurant’s menu was only in French–it wasn’t in a touristy type area. I ordered Ris de Veau for my mother, thinking I was getting her veal and rice. Ohlàlàlàlà… when I saw what it was I almost gagged! She tried her best to eat it–better than I could have done, and finally gave up. The chef came back and said “You didn’t like it?” I felt horrible!!!

    • Oh no… Ris de veau is a trap! Rice is “riz”. You are not the first one to make the mistake! Thanks for sharing with all of us. When was this?

      • Well, I have to say it was quite some time ago–twenty years++, when I was doing my ‘stage’! But you can see what an impression it made. I still look for it on the menu!

        Several months ago I was invited for dinner by good friends. They know ‘je ne suis pas fan de poisson’ and guess what they served?? Fish!!!! I was really surprised. They wanted me to have a ‘healthy’ meal, good for la ligne. I really didn’t know what to say then…I put a LOT of sauce on it and tried my best…. Sigh….

  • This was many years ago. The dish was Tripes a la mode de Caen, which I asked for in a small restaurant just outside of Caen. There was no way I could get the stuff down. I tried a few bites–the texture was like rubber and there was an odor I just couldn’t abide. I think the waiter asked me whether I liked it, and by my pause in replying, and the look on my face, I’m sure he knew I couldn’t finish it. I think the waiter wasn’t surprised, took it back, and I was served something else.

    • There are certain kinds of “spécialités” I just can’t eat either. 🙂 You were not the first one, then!

  • I am allergic to lobster, shrimp, etc. The first time I went on an extended trip to France, my sister-in-law provided me with a small card that said so (“Je suis allergique au …”). We sat down to dinner, I put the card on the table, the waiter read it and gave a shrug. Then he went to my wife’s side of the table and pointed to her menu: “Non, oui, non, non..”

    Presumably he concluded that if I couldn’t eat something, I must be feeble-minded as well!

    Seriously, though, the chefs have always been willing to substitute for items on the prix fixe’ menu that I can’t eat.

    • The card is a terrific idea! The phrase you also use is “Je suis allergique aux crustacés et aux fruits de mer.” It’s great you were able to have a proper dinner anyway.

  • Chère Géraldine
    I can tell you about my faux pas. During my trip to Paris I wanted to try the famous escargots. But when the dish arrived, I realised that I am not sure that I still want it. I had one and when the waiter came, he said something like “surely, madame, you have not finished” and I replied in what I though was my best French “j’ai voulu seulement de gouter” but I think all he heard was “dégoûté”! He never looked at me again!

    • Bonjour Valeria, Oh no! Next time, you can say “Je voulais seulement goûter”. It’s great you tried.

  • Il ya deux ans, ma femme avait commandé d’andouille. Elle pensait que ce serait comme l’andouille de la Louisiane. Mais pas du tout! Personne de nous ne savait que l’andouille traditionnelle est faite presque completment de l’estomac et les intestins de l’animal. C’était horrible! Il paraissait bien mais il puait. Ne personne à notre table voulait le toucher. Jamais encore!

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