Nord-Pas-De-Calais: All in One Pot
In Lille and throughout the North of France, everything is cooked in a pot. So, specialties like Waterzoï, a sort of bouillabaisse made of various kinds of freshwater fish, or Hochepot, which is a mix of meats, oxtail, and boiled vegetables, all end up in the pot! On the coast, eel is served, prepared with butter, cream, and fresh herbs. In Cambrai you can find Bêtises (hard mint candy) and andouilles, as well as an excellent cheese, tomme de Cambrai, which is matured in beer! In this region the cheeses have personality and a strong taste. As for beer—because you can’t discuss Northern France without mentioning beer—blanche (wheat beer), Gueuze, and Trois-Monts vie for favorite among beer lovers. And at the end of a meal, a bit of jenever will bring the experience full circle.
Here are a few mouth-watering specialties that will lure you to the region:
In Lille: taste carbonade flamande, a stew of beef simmered in beer and brown sugar and served with a local brew. You can enjoy this dish at the Chez la Vieille tavern at 60, rue de Gand, Lille.
In Metz: treat yourself to dessert with a slice of tarte aux mirabelles.
The most renowned specialties are andouillette de Cambrai, Maroilles tart, chicory gratin, carbonade flamande, anguille au vert à la Flamande (eel cooked with herbs), coq à la bière, endive and ham gratin, hochepot, Boulogne-style mackerel.
For those with a sweet tooth, the specialties include gâteau Carpeaux (chestnut cake), la gaufre à la chicorée (chicory waffle), rhubarb tart, tuiles d'Arras (thin cookies), and bêtises de Cambrai.
Cheeses to enjoy here include gruyère, Grix de Lille or grix de Vieux Lille, Maroilles or Marolles, Mimolette vieille or Boule de Lille, Saint Paulin, and Boulette d'Avesnes.
Wines and Spirits:
The region is renowned for its beer and jenever.
Maroilles Tart (serves 4)
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
- ½ a Maroilles cheese (¾ pound/360g)
- 2 ½ cups (250 g) flour
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 egg
- ½ tablespoon (10 g) baker’s yeast
- 2 tablespoon (30 g) butter
- 1 pinch salt
- Make the yeast dough by mixing together the flour, yeast/milk mixture, melted butter, whole egg and salt.
- Spread the dough over a buttered pie plate and leave it to rise for an hour or two in a warm spot.
- When the dough has risen, cover it fully with thin slices of Maroilles cheese and bake it at 425°F (220°C) for approximately 25 minutes.