ALL eyes were on the North West last weekend as the famous Tour de France passed by under our noses.

The world watched as some of the most famous cyclists from across the globe travelled between Buttertubs Pass and Hawes, so what better way to honour the prestigious 21-day international race than to dedicate this week’s column to French food?

One of my personal favourites, French cuisine is hugely diverse.

Whether it is cheese, bread, pastries, stews or simply steak and chips, their dishes are fresh, full of flavour, rich and satisfying.

And let’s not forget the wine.

The French seem to be the ultimate judge and jury when it comes to food - just look at the prestige of the Michelin star.

But haute cuisine or not, French-inspired dishes are easy to make whatever your culinary experience.

Prepare a French banquet of delicious nibbles including pate, rillette, cheese, breads, salads and more.

Or craft a refined showstopper.

Advocating all that is French and Yorkshire to continue the Tour de France celebrations, The Courtyard Dairy, Settle, has a French classic milky and mushroomy Brie de Meaux at £26.50 per kilo or a Yorkshire’s Dale End Cheddar - an 18-month-old cheese from Botton community at £22 per kilo.

To rip up and enjoy with your fromage selection, head to Hazelmere Cafe and Bakery, Grange-over-Sands, where they have a ‘magnificent’ sourdough baguette which is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Made with an authentic French recipe, a large stick is £1.45 and a small is 74p.

They also have homemade croissants at 48p and choc au pains at 65p for you perfect continental breakfast.

For something heartier, stay in Grange and try a ready made beef bourguignon at £6.99 per 500g from Higginsons Butchers. Tender top rump of beef, mushrooms, onions, red wine and cream in are mixed in a dish that can be popped in the oven.

They also have four chicken fillets at £5.99 (or eight at £10.99). Braise with white wine, lardons, mushrooms and garlic for a tasty and traditional coq au vin.

Growing with Grace, Clapham, has French beans at £8 per kilo to enjoy alongside any dish. Boil them, add butter and sprinkle with crushed garlic for a simple but mouth watering side.

They also have British onions at £2.53 per kilo, ideal for a french onion soup, and Romano potatoes at 60p per kilo to chop up into homemade fries.

Watson and Woollard, Kendal, has flat iron steaks at £9.35 per kilo for a typically French steak frites. You could even make your own accompanying béarnaise sauce using butter, egg yolks, white wine vinegar and herbs.

Try out their own roast ham at £1.55 per 100g and create a classic croque-monsieur.

Another traditional lunchtime favourite would be a salad Niçoise. Be luxurious and use tuna at £24.99 per kilo from Kendal Fisheries.

Or push the boat out and make a bouillabaisse - french fish stew. Wow guests by mixing monkfish at £21.89 per kilo, sea bass at £2 a fillet and tiger prawns at £20.09 per kilo into your broth.

Add a cheese to your platter with a soft and rich Delice de Cremier at £2.25 per 100g from Baba Ganoush, Kendal, and treat yourself to delicious raspberry or blueberry frangipane at £1.80 each.

And keeping up the cycling theme, Burton Community Stores has homemade ‘biscuits a l’avoine’ (translation: flapjack) at £1 each.