I was lucky enough to spend seven months in the north of France. The cold northern weather propelled me into numerous restaurants and patisseries and I would be doing the world an injustice if I didn’t shout about the delicious treats that I found there.
1) Carbonade Flamande. This beef based stew is a great winter warmer. Eaten with fries and spiced gingerbread loaf, the carbonade differs from a good old English stew in that the beef is fried in flour and then cooked in Flemish beer.
2) Tarte au flan. What can only be described as a large custard tart, this pastry can be enjoyed as nature intended or in varieties such as prune and coconut. It can be found at every patisserie or pastry stand in the north and I challenge you to resist its scrumptious simplicity.
3) ‘Frites-mayo’. Although fries and mayonnaise can be found anywhere and everywhere, fries with an equivalent ratio of mayonnaise are specific to the North of France. Get ready to delve through mountains of the stuff in order to uncover endless and gloriously soggy French fries.
4) Tarte au Maroille. This ‘cheese pie’ is not for the faint hearted. The powerful flavour of the northern cheese ‘Maroille’ is eased only slightly by the dollop of crème fraiche on top of it. If you want to live as the French live however, you have to develop a resilient stomach. A nice slice of Roquefort would be a good warm-up before attempting this taste bud tester. It is worth every mouthful!
5) Potjevleesch- Meaning ‘potted meat’, made from three meats - any variation of rabbit, chicken, bacon, duck and calves feet. It is held together by the gelatine or natural fats which come from them. The name means ‘potted meat’ and although it looks like a biology student’s dissection gone wrong, it tastes infinitely better than it night look or sound.
6) Marveilleux- Chocolate lovers, drop your chocolate bars and your bourbon biscuits. The king of all chocolate- based confectionary is here to conquer your cravings. A marvellous monarch, the ‘marveilleux’ is one giant macaroon, sandwiching chocolate icing, lathered with a layer of chocolate butterscotch and chocolate curls. I’ll say no more as you’ve probably stopped reading to go and buy one.
With these delights just through the doorway, let’s hope that the weather stays cold for longer!