Food and drink
France > North > Food and drink
Champagne's cuisine is dominated by the famous sparkling wine, large quantities of which are sloshed in sauces or over sorbets. Otherwise the province's cooking is known for little apart from its cheeses sharp-tasting, creamy white Chaource and orange skinned Langres and Champagne's main contribution to French food, the andouillette, for which Troyes is famed. Translated euphemistically into English as "chitterling sausage", it is in actual fact an intestine crammed full of more intestines, all chopped up. An acquired taste (and texture) it's better than it sounds look out for the notation AAAAA, a seal of approval awarded by the Association of Amateurs of the Authentic Andouillette. The Ardennes is another area that really lacks a distinctive repertoire (à l'ardennaise just means flavoured with juniper berries); game looms large on all menus, pâté d'Ardennes being the main famous dish. French Flanders, however, has one of France's richest regional cuisines. Especially on the coast the seafood Oysters, shrimps and scallops and fish above all sole and turbot are outstanding, while in Lillemoules-frites are appreciated every bit as much as in neighbouring Belgium. Here, too, beer is the favourite drink, with pale and brown Pelforth the local brew. Traditional estaminets or brasseries also serve a range of dishes cooked in beer, most famously the carbonades à la flamande, a kind of beef stew; rabbit, chicken, game and fish may also be prepared à la bière. Other pot-cooked dishes include the hochepot (a meaty broth), waterzooi (chicken in a creamy sauce) and potjevlesch (various white meats in a rich sauce). In addition to the boulette d'Avesnes, the Flemish cheese par excellence is the strong-flavoured maroilles, used to make flamiche, a kind of open tart of cheese pastry, also made with leeks (aux poireaux). For the sweet toothed crêpes à la cassonade (pancakes with muscovado sugar) are often on menus, but waffles (gaufres) are the local speciality and come in two basic varieties: the thick honeycomb type served with sugar or cream, or the wafer-like biscuit filled with jam or syrup apparently Charles de Gaulle, who was from Lille, was particularly fond of the latter sort.