Tantalizing my tastebuds

French food is one of the highlights of a break in Northern France, from enjoying seafood on the waterfront to farm-to-fork dining in rural retreats.

 

Sampling French food in its wonderful array of different guises – from the French Christmas food on offer at festive markets to the creative output of the region’s many Michelin-starred chefs in upscale restaurants including La Grenouillère near Montreuil-sur-Mer – is all part of the charm of staying in Hauts-de-France. Did you know? Michelin-starred Alexandre Gauthier at La Grenouillière shot to fame when he served local Licques chiken to heads of state including Barack Obama at Paris' COP21 conference.

 
Looking after oneself through good nutrition is now recognised as one of the key factors in ageing well and staying active for longer, but so too is giving oneself pleasure – and experiencing some of that famous French art de vivre is great way of doing this!

 

Gourmet experiences in Northern France include feasting on lobster fresh from the sea (don’t missed the Michelin-starred La Matelote in Boulogne-sur-Mer on the Opal Coast) and tasting saffron or even foraged wild plants from the Bay of Somme in one of the many excellent local restaurants. And make sure not to miss its famous agneau de pré-salé or saltmarsh lamb, raised on meadows rich with mineral salts from the sea. Naturally, the cheese in the area is second to none – don’t miss stinky local Maroilles, for instance.

 

Wherever you eat, accompany your meal by some French wine or some champagne recommended by your waiter or sommelier and you have the makings of a truly unforgettable meal. And remember that well as a way of discovering new flavours, enjoying French food and wine is also a fantastic way of experiencing the country’s rich culture.

 

A good place to begin is Amiens, with a great choice of restaurants and an array of specialities including duck pâté, andouillettes d'Amiens (minced pork balls) and macarons d’Amiens (macaroons). This city’s main covered market, Les Halles du Beffroi (open Tuesday to Sunday) is a cheese-lover’s paradise, stocking Northern France specialities including Tomme au Foin, Rollot, Bray Picard, Maroilles. If you’re in town on a Saturday, there’s also a market dedicated to local farm producers, on rue Léon-Blum, and a floating market with vegetables fresh from the city’s hortillonnages (market gardens).

 

If you have a sweet tooth, sample authentic, unctuous crème Chantilly in the cottage-like Restaurant du Hameau in the grounds of the Château de Chantilly, on top of fresh strawberries or tingling sorbets.

 

Discover some France food culture ideas