This is a preview of the content in our French Food Decoder app. Get the app to:
  • Read offline
  • Remove ads
  • Access all content
  • Use the in-app Map to find sites, and add custom locations (your hotel...)
  • Build a list of your own favourites
  • Search the contents with full-text search functionality
  • ... and more!
iOS App Store Google Play


Cathédrale ND de Laon. This building is classé au titre des monuments historiques de la France.

The Hauts-de-France region in France’s far northeast has five départements (Aisne, Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, and Somme). This includes the traditional regions of Picardy and Flanders; Lille is the capital. Inhabitants are known as the Ch'tis or Chtimis, a nickname from soldiers in the First World War, having fun with local accent (c'est toi—it’s you—turns into ch'est ti; c'est moi—it’s me—turns into ch'est mi)

Although not known as one of the great foodie regions of France, the Hauts-de-France is determined to change that around with its appointment as the Région Européenne de la Gastronomie 2023. Fresh seafood (especially herring, hareng in all its forms) and Flemish specialities stand out such as Carbonnade flamande and houchepot, the star fare at an estaminet—a traditional rustic tavern.

It’s the land of chicorée and frites, gaufres (waffles), Mimolette and pungent Maroilles, the queen of the local beer-washed cheeses. And there’s plenty of beer: with 52 brasseries, a third of all the beer in France is brewed in the Hauts-de-France, including the excellent century old family run 3 Monts.

Bêtises de Cambrai

sweet minty ‘mistakes’

carbonnade flamande

beef or pork with onions and beer

Chuque du Nord

coffee caramels


raisin bread

Crayeux de Roncq

chalky cheese from the Belgian border

Doigt de Jean Bart

chocolate and almond ‘finger’


chicory (witlof) or Belgian endive


dense white bread

flamiche aux poireaux

Picardy’s creamy leek tart

Fort de Béthune

fermented cheese


minced meat snack






Flemish style pot-au-feu



Maroilles (and its cousins)

‘Old Stinker’


meringue, chocolate mousse and rich cream


hard cheese ball from Lille


potatoes cooked under a cloche

potage Crécy

famous carrot soup


potted meats

rabotte picarde

apple dumpling


apple sauce tart

tarte au sucre

sugar pie


Flemish fish or chicken stew

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Raimond Spekking