On this page;
The site for shoppers and day trippers to Calais, France – a page listing regional products and producers (cheese, beers, Foie Gras, Spirits etc.)
French supermarkets are much keener on selling local produce. There are considerably fewer food items from far flung corners of the earth available.
There are many different labels indicating a certain standard or quality in France. Provenance is especially important to the French (as oppossed to price in the U.K.), and traditional ways of rearing animals are adhered to (chickens are much tastier for example as they have considerably longer lives in France). Look out for labels indicating local products.
U.K. shops are good at creating "places" to market a product, suggesting all sorts of delightful things with pretty photographs and text, that bear little relation to the truth. If you want a clear indication of the difference between French and U.K. shops, origin of the item is a good place to start. These articles from British newspapers are a good example of "English" practices. www.telegraph.co.uk / www.dailymail.co.uk
Other standards important in France include condition of transportation, the slaughtering and cutting, which are regulated and controlled, from farm to the point of sale. Some indicate the product is actually from a farm, that the producer has committed to a certain quality involving a plant and production equipment, that they will respect health standards, and that they will be regularly subject to quality control tests by an independent laboratory. They must usually be committed to maintaining consistent results.
Organic or bio products are increasingly available. However as in the U.K. they cost quite a bit more (about 70% more according to a recent survey in France). Look out for fairtrade products, many supermarkets now have a whole aisle devoted to bio and fairtrade products.
Terres en Fêtes – a local agricultural show held every year. Packed full of interesting stalls selling local produce. More
On this page we list many regional products and local producers which are collated from a variety of different sources – please telephone before a visit. We have listed the shops first and then the farms where the goods are produced.
CREDIT CARDS – we suggest you ring your credit card company before shopping in France – increased fraud means they are turning down shoppers cards if their spending deviates from the norm. Take your mobile – you can often sort the problem out over the phone.
French brands • Shopping chains • Factory shopping centres • (Belgium) • Markets • Baby • Cars • Car servicing • Chocolate • Customs • DIY • Opticians • Fish • Cheese • Perfume • Sports • Toys • Weddings
– An AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) is the geographical name of a country, region or locality serving to designate a product originating therein whose quality or characteristics are due exclusively or essentially to the geographical environment, including natural and factors. It covers cheeses, wines, eaux-de-vie and other farm products in France. It guarantees that a product of quality has been produced within a specified region by the approved method. It was started in the 1930's, and means "controlled term of origin". There is now a European wide label (see logo above); Appellation d'Origine Protégée. alimentation.gouv.fr
On July 30, 1935, the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO), a branch of the French Ministry of Agriculture, was created to manage the administration of the process for wines. Over the years, the scope of the AOC has been extended to cover other agricultural products.
Most people associate the AOC label with wine. In general an AOC label can be found for wines of better quality in France. It is a set of laws which help the consumer to determine the origin and quality of a wine. AOC wine laws will dictate where the grapes can be grown (hence appellation of origin), grape varieties that may be used in the wine, alcohol levels, methods and yields and vine density per acre. www.aoc-vins.fr
There are 44 AOC cheeses, with several other applications for AOC status pending. Exacting standards must be met by AOC cheeses, covering the type of milk, region, methods of production and the length of aging. The first cheese to gbe awarded AOC status was Roquefort cheese in 1957. Wikipedia
In 1957 "Poulet de Bresse" (chicken) was awarded an AOC.
Violations are subject to prosecution, including fines and imprisonment.
– IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée). Specifies the area of production, and guarantees a quality which depends on the choice of raw materials used and the use of traditional methods.
– Agriculture Biologique. The "AB" (Agriculture Biologique) logo guarantees that a food product has environmentally friendly origins, which rules out the use of synthetic chemical products, and takes account of the well-being of animals. Since 2009 at least 95% of the ingredients of a product must be organic to allow the term to be used on the label. More about Bio products
– Attests to a superior quality. Meat, poultry, charcuteries and dairy products, but also for seafood, fruits and vegetables. The Label Rouge indicates a product considered of superior quality compared with other similar products, and is owned by the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisherie. The rules are strictly enforced. It was created in 1960. Cheeses coming under this label include; Emmental, Tomme de Savoie, Tome de Pyrenees, Morbier, Mimolette. www.label-viande.com
– Critère qualité certifié (compliance certificate). The certification of compliance certifies that a food or a non-food agricultural product, meets the specific characteristics or rules previously set up, on production, packaging or (since 1994) the origin. agriculture.gouv.fr
– Atout Qualité Certifié. This Certification of Conformity attests that a product with this mark is of certain traceable quality. Products carrying this label; Apples, pork, beef and veal, fish, lamb, rabbit.
– Produits des Parc naturel Régional. Products from French National Parks, mainly an indication of origin. Products with this label, indicate that the product is manufactured in the park and meets the specifications laid down: original, natural character, and authentic craftsmanship. It is a collective mark filed by the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development, framed at the national level by the Federation of Regional Nature Parks and managed locally by each park.
– Bienvenue a la Ferme. Stay at a working farm and learn about local products and animals. There are sections devoted to some departments and regions. You can search by criteria as well. www.bienvenue-a-la-ferme.com
– Marchés des producteurs de Pays – a regional (mostly Southern France) label. www.marches-producteurs.com
This group is responsible for Critère qualité certifié and Label Rouge quality labels in the North of France. Tel: 0033 328 38 94 94. www.gqnpc.com
Companies using this label;
Bières Spéciales du Nord; Brasserie St Sylvestre, Brasserie Terken, Brasserie Jeanne d'Arc, Brasserie Castelain
Charcuteries du Nord – Pas de Calais; Andouille de Cambrai, Andouillette de Cambrai, Langue de Valenciennes Lucullus, Pâté de Foie du Nord, Petit Salé Lillois, Potjevlesch. CGF Charcuterie, Kalifrais, Les Naturelles du Haut Pays, SN. Norvia
Smoked herring Fillets; Bourgain, Simon-Dutriaux
Cheese Vieux Lille; Les Fromagers de Thiérache
Gaufres Fourrées du Nord; Biscuiterie Vander
Bread of Beffrois; Moulins du Nord, Boulangerie Magnier
Fish Soups of the North – Pas de Calais; Régals du Touquet
More local products information. www.goutezlaqualite.com
– Comité de Promotion NORD – Pas de Calais. On Saturday at 3.15pm on Radio Bleu Nord (94.7FM) information is given on local fairs etc. Local producers. www.saveurs-npdc.com
– The "Saveurs en'OR" label was created to boost agriculture and agribusiness in Nord-Pas de Calais. It aims meet the expectations of consumers who wish to use regional products, to promote these products and develop their use, and to enhance knoweledge of the Nord-Pas de Calais region. www.saveursenor.com
– Artisan en'Or. A new label designed to encourage local food making skills. www.artisanenor.fr
Meat – "Les Viandes Artisanales". As with many of the French labels, traceability of the product is important.
– Le Porc des Hauts Pays. Local porc producers who use a high grain method of rearing their pigs, ensuring tender and lean meat.
– L'Agn'Hauts Pays. Lamb born, raised and slaughtered in the Nord-Pas de Calais region, specially selected breeds only.
– Le Veau des Pays d'Artois.
– Terres d'Opale. Lists local products. www.terredopale.fr
– Produit a la Ferme. Guarantees products are grown or reared on a farm. Good list of local producers. www.produitalaferme.fr
– The "AB" (Agriculture Biologique) logo guarantees that a food product has environmentally friendly origins, which rules out the use of synthetic chemical products, and takes account of the well-being of animals. Since 2009 at least 95% of the ingredients of a product must be organic to allow the term to be used on the label.
Boulogne Organic Food Market – Paris, France. 3rd Saturday of every month. 140, Route de la Reine, 92 Boulogne-sur-Seine.
France is one of the largest world consumers of organic produce. The Marché Boulogne is one of Paris' numerous Bio Marché, with lots of fresh produce such as craft cheeses, fruits, vegetables and charcuterie.
Auchan in Calais now has a good range of organic products available.
In addition to the organic labels there are many quality labels, which are awarded if the specified standards are met. Many are designed to protect local food producers and origin.
– Eco Label, a European scheme to help consumers distinguish greener, more environmentally friendly products (not food or medicine). www.ecolabels.fr
– Eurofeuille. New European rules of organic labelling came into effect on July 1st 2010.
A new European organic logo, "Eurofeuille” constituted by white stars on a green bottom is going to appear in all foodstuffs packaging made in the European Union, although it is not compulsory for imported or fresh products.
Mention must be made of the origin of all ingredients. National or regional signs may also be used. In France, the same product can be labelled AB or "Eurofeuille”. Companies have 2 years to comply with the new laws.
A new label, "organic coherence", will appear by 2011. At the initiative of French organic farmers, its specifications will be more demanding than the EU organic label and the French label AB (Agriculture Biologique). To be certified "organic coherence", products must contain no GMOs (although the label AB tolerated 0.1% and 0.9% European label), be 100 % organic (against 95% for AB and European labels).
This new organic label was created following a review in 2009 of the European specifications and the prohibition of specific national regulations. Previously, the national labels, which label AB, could set higher standards than the EU organic label. Since January 2009, they have the obligation to comply with European specifications and the AB label has had to revise downward its requirements.
– Agri Bio, organic farming website. www.agri-bio.fr
– Agriculture Bio, Government website listing BIO producers and prodcts. www.agriculturebio.org
– GABNOR, a group of BIO producers in the North of France. Comprehensive list of producers. www.gabnor.org
A PRO BIO – Association de Promotion des produits Biologiques en Nord-Pas de Calais. www.aprobio.fr
– BIO Picardie. www.bio-picardie.com
BIO Normandie. www.bio-normandie.org
– ETHIQUABLE is a French company with a range of fair trade products. www.ethiquable.com
– Max Havelaar. Fairtrade foods generally available in hypermarkets. www.maxhavelaarfrance.org
France has many markets selling organic products (Markets in France). There are also festivals and fairs worth looking in on if on holiday (Food events in France). However there are also shops which only sell organic products and there are organic brands available in supermarkets. Fairtrade is also catching on.
An independent organisation for certification is ECOCERT.
– Annuaire Bioeco. Find an organic food shop in France. www.annuairebioeco.fr
– Biocoop. A chain of organic shops throughout France,. www.biocoop.fr
– Bio-Planet. This stylish Belgium supermarket only stocks organic products – tea and coffee, vegetarian and vegan products, meat, cosmetics, books, freshly baked bread, fruit and veg, dairy produce, clothes and so on. www.bioplanet.be
– Bonneterre. A chain of health food shops in France. Two shops in Calais. 1) Nature et Beauté, 34 rue de la Paix. 62100 Calais. Tel: 0033 321 34 62 79. 2) Calais nature, 22 rue des 4 Coins 62100 Calais. www.bonneterre.fr
– Boutique Nature. A chain of health food shops in France. Three shops in Calais. www.boutique-nature.fr
France Nature. "Directory of organic and natural products". Comprehensive listings. www.francenature.fr
– Markets selling local produce. www.marches-producteurs.com
– The nearest store is in Boulogne. Biocoop Opale Bio, 17, rue Edmond Rostand. 62200 Boulogne. Tel: 0033 321 32 65 53. www.opalebio.com
– Natoora. Not a supermarket as such, but an online organic supplier. www.natoora.co.uk – United Kingdom deliveries, largest range of French products in the United Kingdom).
– Satoriz, a chain with most of its stores in the South of France. www.satoriz.fr
Vin Bio France (Organic wines). www.vinbiofrance.com
Comité de Promotion NORD – Pas de Calais, has a book listing specialist shops, farm shops and organic markets called "La Bio près de chez vous" – one for Pas-de-Calais and one for NORD.
Gastronomie du Sud-Ouest, Bld la Fayette, specialist in foods from the south west of France and traditional products.
Au Rayon De Soleil Magasin Bio. 76, Boulevard Lafayette. Calais.
Bio Calaisis. Fruits et legumes frais (producteurs locaux), alimentation bio, Eco- produits. 149, Avenue de Calais. 62730 Marck (just outside Calais).
Cap Nature au Cap Gris-Nez. 200, Route du Musee. 62179 Audinghen. Shop selling local and bio products. Tel: 0033 321 10 83 70.
Delice des Mets, 47 rue royale. 62100 Calais. Tel: 0033 321 85 31 87.
Le Terroir, rue des Fontinettes, a wine merchant and seller of fine gastronomic products
Charcuterie Maffrand, rue des Fontinettes. Produces its own meats, pates and terrines.
La Ferme du Bois L'Abbé. 62280 Saint-Martin-Boulogne. Tel : 0033 321 92 13 10. www.fermeduboislabbe.com
NORD DOMICILE – A chain of shops selling products produced in the NORD Pas de Calais region. 42 Boulevard Gabriel Péri. 62110 Henin Beaumont. Tel: 0033 321 43 70 82. www.norddomicile.com
Tresors de Flandre. 24, boulevard Sainte Barbe. 59140 Dunkerque. Tel : 0033 328 63 66 20. www.tresorsdeflandre.com
– Bienvenue a la Ferme. Stay at a working farm and learn about local products and animals. There are sections on the website devoted to many departments and regions. You can search by criteria as well. www.bienvenue-a-la-ferme.com
M. et Mme. Romain Magnier, Route de Conteville. 62720. Wierre-Effroy. Tel: 0033 321 83 92 14. Pain du Bocage, brioches and tarts cooked in a wood oven.
Brewery and Brasserie, La Blonde d'Esquelbecq (biére artisanale des Flandres- speciality beers). At Brasserie Thiriez, 22, rue de Wormhout, 59470. Esquelbecq. Tel: 0033 328 62 88 44. Directions; from Dunkirk A25 towards Lille, then exit Berques.
Cider Farm, Rue du Wint. 62240. Brunembert. Tel: 0033 321 32 30 67.
Useful link (in French); www.info-cidre.com
M. et Mme. Guy Lecoutre, Earl de la Lande, 33, rue Raymond Sulliger. 62720. Hydrequent. Tel: 0033 321 92 88 37. Butter, crème fraîche, fromage blanc.
M. Antoine Bernard, Fromagerie Sainte-Godeleine, Ferme du Vert. 62720. Wierre-Effroy. Tel: 0033 321 87 00 97. Local cow cheeses.
Mme. Andrée Gradelet, 404 rue de Tinghen. 62360. Hesdin-l'Abbe. Tel: 0033 321 33 67 07. Goats cheese.
La Halte d'Autrefois. Mme Valérie Magniez. 28 route d'Embry. 62990 Hesmond. France. www.halte-autrefois.com
FERME DU VINAGE. Michel et Thérèse-Marie Couvreur. Carrière Mme Desflandres 59223 RONCQ. Tel: 0033 320 94.60.67. Farmers produced cheese made with whole milk. Several varieties of cheese. Groups welcome. Sale of the dairy and pork products on site (pigs reared on skimmed milk).
FROMAGERIE du MONASTERE de Belval, 62130 Troisvaux. Tel: 0033 321 04 10 10. "Abbaye de Belval" cheeses are the fruit of a combination of different influences including master cheese makers, the region and the monastic origins of the cheeses. These quality cheeses are matured in the cellars of the abbey by Trappist sisters who take a great deal of care over their work. In addition to the traditional "plain" cheese, the sisters have developed a Trappist "beer matured" cheese.
TOME DE CAMBRAI, 70, Grand Rue. 59400 Seranvillers. Tel: 0033 327 78 66 25. The Tome de Cambrai is a farm produced whole milk cheese, matured in a cellar long enough to become creamy and delicious to taste.
FROMAGERIE DU MONT DES CATS, Abbaye du Mont des Cats. 2470, route du Mont des Cats, 59270. Godewaersvelde. Tel: 0033 328 42 52 50. Considered to be one of the oldest cheese producers in the Department of the North, the cheese business of the Abbaye du Mont des Cats is an independent regional company which has been established since 1870 in the Monts de Flandre.
La Ferme du Pont de Sains, Lieu dit "le Pont de Sains" – Féron. 59610. Fourmies. Tel: 0033 327 60 83 83. Products include Maroilles cheese (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée), La Boulette d'Avesnes, Flamiche and goat's cheese.
SA HENNART, ZI du Château. 62220 Carvin. Tel: 0033 321 74 82 01. Specialists in cheese maturing for 3 generations now, our business (which is also our passion!) involves selecting farm or craftsman-made products, mainly produced from whole milk, and maturing them in our cellars or maturing halls.
La Maison Fromage et des Vins, 1, Rue André Gerschel. Tel: 0033 321 34 44 72. Closed Tuesday.
Nathalie Pinheiro, 1, rue Montaigne. Tel: 0033 321 97 03 30.
Roland Delannoy, 88 rue Colonne. Tel: 0033 321 31 95 48.
– Philippe Olivier, 43, rue Thiers, 62200 Boulogne-sur-Mer. Tel: 0033 321 31 94 74. Open: Tuesday – Saturday 8.00am – 12.30pm. 2. 30 – 7.30pm. Famous for its range, including over 30 local cheeses. www.philippeolivier.fr
No producers in the north! Brittany has a fair number though. Chestnuts can be bought dried, whole, as a flour, or as a purée.
Basically a marron has less than 12% fruit when opened, whereas a chestnut has more than 12%. The term "marron" is however used to described processed chestnut products such as purees.
There is an "appellation d'Origine Contrôlée" in Ardeche region of France for chestnuts. Look under "tourism for some places to visit. www.chataigne-ardeche.com
The town of Licques is famous for its turkey's, which have been produced here since the 17th Century. Capon and chicken are also produced locally. 777, rue de l'Abbé Pruvost – BP 13. 62850. Licques. Tel: 0033 321 35 05 42.
– Licques Turkeys. www.licques-volailles.fr
M. et Mme. Gérard Lelievre-Sauvage, Butcher's shop, 48, rue de Montluc. 62610. Ardres. Tel: 0033 321 35 40 18. Dry Turkey sausage, ham, liver pâte.
La Petite Basse Cour, 62240 WIRWIGNES. Chicken (Label rouge quality marque) and Guinea fowl.
Leroux – chicorée sauce. For free recipes created by Clément Marot (of Restaurant Clément Marot, 16, rue de Pas. 59800. Lille. Tel: 0033 320 57 01 10) contact; Leroux Service Consommateurs, 84, rue Francois Herbo, BP 28. 59310. Orchies Cedex. France. www.leroux.fr
Potatoes – M. et Mme. Etienne Verlingue, 17 rue del'Eglise. 62720. Hydrequent.
Strawberries – M. et Mme. Jean-Paul Regnault, La Wattinette. 62830. Questrecques. Tel: 0033 321 83 67 01.
Watercress (the local variety is tasty and broad leafed) – M. Michel Bourbiaux, Cressonière de la Liane, Le Village. 62240. Quesques. Tel: 0033 321 35 01 72.
A la Ferme, 22, Bd. Jacquard. Calais. Owned by a cooperative of local farmers who sell their own produce and other goods. Tel: 0033 321 96 92 42.
Comtesse du Barry, 35, Grande Rue, 62200. Boulogne. Tel: 0033 321 87 19 20.
Ferme du puits du Sart. 62132. Hermelinghen. Tel: 0033 321 85 00 79. Foie Gras, confectionary, duck specialities.
Comtesse du Barry, 59, Bd. jacquard, Calais. Tel: 0033 321 85 14 13.
Les Produits du Terroir, 1001 Bd. Kent, Coquelles. Tel: 0033 321 34 83 37.
M. Philippe Delavalle, 118, Chemin des fermes, 62340. Pihen-Les-Guînes. Tel: 0033 321 35 12 84.
Mm. Olivier et Ludovic Dussaussoy, 11 rue Roger Salengro. 62720. Réty. Tel: 0033 321 92 97 65.
L'Apiculteur Boulonnais, Syndicat d'Apiculteurs, 18 rue du boudoir. 62360. Baincthun. Tel: 0033 321 83 38 21.
Les Escargots du Bocage, 217 rue Henri Béthouart, Airon St Vaast. Tel: 0033 321 84 32 27.
Museums in Champagne
l'Escargot (snails) en Champagne. Snail Museum, 8 Rue des Plumons. 51700 Try-Dormans. www.equantys.com
Snail Farm, CD 34. 51150 Bouzy. www.escargotdesgrandscrus.com
Event; April, Osenbach, Alsace. The Snail Fair here will delight all who find snails delicious as well as fascinating. After a session tasting snails cooked Alsace-style, you can appreciate their speed in the traditional tiercé (bet on the three winning snails!) on a specially designed race course!
Mme. Monique Vasseur, Société la Gosse, 3, route de Guînes. 62132. Hardinghen. Tel: 0033 321 85 00 96. Lemonades and sodas. www.lagosse.fr
– La Maison du Perlé – A locally produced apéritif is "Perlé de Groseille", a champagne like drink made from redcurrants. You can visit the distillery and farm, taste and buy some. 50, rue Principale, 62990. Loison-sur-Créquoise. Tel: 0033 321 81 30 85. Open July – August every day 10.00am – 7.00pm. April, May, June and September, every day 10.00am – 7.00pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday morning. In July there is local currant festival in this town. www.perledegroseille.com
Try the local spirit "Genièvre de Houlle", a juniper gin distilled in Houlle near St Omer by the Persyn Family since 1812. You can even visit the distillery. Distillerie Persyn, 19, route de Watten. 62910. Houlle. Tel: 0033 321 93 01 71. www.genievredehoulle.com
– Distillerie Claeyssens de Wambrechies (Genièvre Claeyssens et Genièvre de Loos), 1, rue de la Distillerie. 59118. Wambrechies. Tel: 0033 321 14 91 91. www.wambrechies.com
Les Bétises de Cambrai – minty sweets produced in the Nord Pas de Calais region of France (mint humbugs). www.comptoirdesflandres.com/category/betises-de-cambrai
– Le Succes Berckois. 62600 Berck. www.succesberckois.com
An agricultural show held every year near Arras an hour or so from Calais. Whilst the farming mchainery may not be of much interest, there are a lot of stall selling local produce and from elsewhere. www.terres-en-fete.com
If you have an interest in food, it's worth a visit.
Photos from Terres en Fêtes (June)
This farmer was from Provence, and sold a lot of unusual garlic and onions (see below)
Bee keepers had stalls selling an interesting range of products
Endives (chicory) are a very good buy in France at about 1/6th the cost in the United Kingdom This a picture showing what it looks like at various stages of its development.