La Citrouille vs. Le Potiron: What’s the Difference? - Talk in French
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La Citrouille vs. Le Potiron: What’s the Difference?

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Got questions about French language and culture? Every week on the Talk in French newsletter, I answer questions sent by readers.

Here I’m sharing one that I answered a while ago, but it’s quite relevant at this time of the year. 

Let’s check out the question:

« What is the difference between the two different words for pumpkin, la citrouille and le potiron? Are they synonymous, or is there a difference? » Kaleigh

Here’s my answer:

La citrouille and le potiron are very similar actually. But there are some differences.

Appearance

First, le potiron is a bit smaller and flat. La Citrouille, on the other hand, is bigger--it is the one you use for Halloween.

Names

While both are varieties of squash, the scientific name of la citrouille is cucurbita pepo and it is often referred to as citrouille véritable (true pumpkin). Le potiron is cucurbita maxima or winter squash. 

Taste

Le potiron tastes a bit sweeter and in general, tastier than citrouille. La citrouille is stringier (fliandreux) than le potiron. Le potiron is more popular for cooking in France. In fact, I am a big fan of « la soupe de potiron ».


Conclusion

I hope this clarifies the difference between la citrouille and le potiron. Just remember, le potiron is smaller and more elongated while la citrouille is bigger and rounder. La citrouille is often used for Halloween while le potiron is popular for cooking different dishes such as la soupe de potiron.

Do you have any questions about French language and culture that you would like me to answer? Send me your questions using the contact form below and I’ll answer them in the newsletter!

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About the Author Frederic

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Twitter and Google +

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