Great dishes from the north of France

Nord-Pas-de-CalaisThe people of the north of France are said to be the friendliest and most welcoming in the country. The area also boasts a distinctly different culinary tradition, characterized largely by a sort of hearty “comfort food”. Here are a few budget-friendly dishes one should be sure to try when visiting this region.

Tartiflette: This baked casserole dish is a staple of the north of France. It is made up mostly of diced or shredded potatoes. The potatoes are boiled, then the whole thing is baked with a generous helping of bacon and grated onion, and a dollop of crème fraiche. Finally a yellow cheese, usually a reblochon, is baked to a golden brown on top. Some versions of this dish are made with a bit of dry white wine. This meal will leave you lingering at your table for an extra glass of wine while you digest.

Flammekueche: This dish looks like a huge paper-thin pizza. The dough is rolled incredibly thin, usually in a circle or rectangle shape. The most popular version of this dish is slathered in crème fraiche, and topped with onions and bits of diced pork (lardons). However, it’s becoming more popular to see this dish offered with a variety of toppings, from vegetarian friendly to sweet or smoked meats. This dish is usually found for little more than 8euros.

Frites: While most dishes throughout the country are often served with fries, the north of France really capitalizes on its proximity to Belgium and the area is littered with little Friteries in the Belgian tradition. There are countless corner fry shops, where customers can come away with huge cones of thick-crusted fries offered with a seemingly endless variety of toppings. This artery clogging decadence is available for around 2euros. It might not be the healthiest way to eat on the road, but it is definitely worth the indulgence.

Beer: Beer-loving Francophiles will love their time in the north of France. Once again, due to its proximity, all of Belgium’s finest brews are easily found at local cafés and brasseries in the region, and even at mega-marts like Carrefour. Those beers that run you $8-12 dollars back in the States are available here for around 2euros.

Posted by | Comments (4)  | June 28, 2010
Category: Europe, Food and Drink

4 Responses to “Great dishes from the north of France”

  1. tracy Says:

    I have had several of the best meals of my life in the north of France, the best Frites in the world.

  2. Thomas G Says:


    I’m from North of France, and I have to correct some things here 🙂

    Tartiflette is definitely not from here, it’s from Savoie. Also Flammekuche is more of a belgian thing though I wouldn’t bet anything on that one.

    But they are both great anyway. Also try ‘Tarte au maroille’ (maroille being a cheese), your breath will never smell the same again ;p

  3. Colleen Wilde Says:

    @Thomas: Exactly! I certainly never suggested these dishes originated in the north of France, but they are great traditions that you’ll find very popular in the area. The Belgian influence in particular has made it one tasty area. 🙂

    P.S: I *love* tarte au maroille.