Food in Northern France: a brief gastronomical tour!
Le Nord; Picardy; Champagne; Alsace and Lorraine
Dunkerque; Calais; Boulogne; Le Touquet; Lille; Arras; Amiens; Beauvais; Chantilly; Compiegne; Epernay; Reims; Chalons-en-Champagne; Troyes; Nancy; Strasbourg; Verdun; Colmar; Riquewihr.
Food in Northern France is both hearty and full of solid flavours – eating and drinking to satisfy the hungriest gourmet!
On the coast seafood is popular, especially mussels, but a colder, wetter climate and proximity to Belgium and Germany make it no surprise the specialities of this region have a distinctly “unmediterranean” flavour.
Carbonnade is beef stew braised in beer, Choucroute garnie is a very Germanic dish of bacon, pork loin or knuckle and various types of sausages, both smoked and unsmoked, all served with boiled potatoes on a bed of sauerkraut. Boudin noir (blood pudding) and boudin blanc (white pork sausage) and saucisse de Strasbourg (basically a thick frankfurter) are popular.
The Mountainous Ardennes
The mountainous Ardennes region is famous for its salted and cold-cured ham, and Truite Ardennaise is a pan-fried trout with smoked ham and cream. Quiche Lorraine is a speciality of which we’ve all heard, and Alsace, with forty different varieties of pate, shares many food traditions with neighboring Germany: Porc aux deux pommes, a classic dish, is pork with potatoes and apples and kougelhopf is a ring-shaped cake with almonds and sultanas.
As far as cheeses go, Brie de Meaux probably needs no introduction, and Alsace Munster may also be familiar.
Beer, Riesling or Champagne?
Beer has been brewed in Lorraine for centuries (although the Kronenbourg Brewery is actually in Strasbourg), and riesling is the wine to drink in Alsace. But of course, the most famous wine district in this area is Champagne which lies just down from Reims.
Whether you’re on the coast, in the mountains, or sipping champagne in Epernay, the food in Northern France will be a welcome companion on your gastronomical tour!
Other pages about food in France:
Food in Western France: Normandy; Brittany; the Loire Valley.
Food in Southwestern France: Poitou and Aquitaine; Perigord, Quercy and Gascony; the Pyrenees.
Food in the South of France: Languedoc-Rousillon; Provence; Cote d’Azur.
Food in Central France and the Alps: Burgundy and Franche-Comte; Massif Central; Rhone Valley and French Alps.