Food and Cuisine in Champagne
You can find almost all types of French cuisine in the Champagne area's restaurants, and as the region borders Belgium, you'll find plenty of Flemish dishes on the menu too. However the true regional culinary specialities of Champagne are staunchly rustic and hearty. Large areas of Champagne have traditionally been a game hunter's paradise and France's largest game hunting ground, Arc-en Barrois, is located in the region. Hence game such as venison, boar, rabbit and pheasants appear on menus and in shops.
About the Food of CHAMPAGNE
Regional cuisines includes game such as venison, medaillons de chevreuil aux baies rouges, venison steaks with redcurrants, and wild boar, civet de sanglier, which are prepared as roasts or casseroles or in a stew. A stew of bacon, smoked ham, sausage, cabbage etc, potée champenoise. Rich pâtés and terrines pork, rabbit and other game flavoured with juniper berries are regional specialities. Dishes of Flemish origin traditionally contains ingredients such as beer, chicory, prunes and raisins. Carbonnade de boeuf is a typical classic dish, where the beef is slowly braised in onions and beer. As the region has a relatively cool climate,the vegetables that accompany the main meal tend to be potato, cabbage, beets and watercress, while leeks appear in Flamiche, Flemish leek pie, a simple dish of leeks cooked with cream and eggs in a pastry crust.
Throughout the region you will see vans and shops selling gaufres, Belgian waffles. These rich and delicious waffles are consumed with cream and sugar and sometimes with raffolait, milk jam made by boiling milk and sugar.
Out and about in Champagne
The below selection reflects wine tour days of local delights, picnics, restaurant meals and lunches at home.
Financier or friand
(light tea cake)
A pastry usually contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds. Financiers are often served topped with whipped cream, berries, and ice cream.
Champagne lays claim to this international hors d'oeuvre dish of eggs stuffed with curry, garlic, cream and parsley.
Le Maquereau Fumé pate avec la caille les oeufs
(Smoked Mackerel pate with quails eggs)
Smoked mackerel with quails eggs, watercress and lemon wrapped in smoked salmon - the perfect starter to go with champagne.
Medaillons de chevreuil a la sauce cameline
(Venison back-steaks with cameline sauce)
In Champagne,la chasse, hunting, is a popular autumn and winter activity. Flash cooked venison, a tasty wine sauce accompanied by pain d'epice, carrots and Brussel sprouts makes a great winter main course.
Coq au Champagne
(Rooster in champagne) Rooster marinated in champagne, slow cooked and served with a reduction of juices and vegetables with just a hint of nut oil, egg yolk and Marc du Champagne.
Pigeons en marinade
(Marinated pigeons) From the forests of Champagne come plump pigeons which are marinated, casseroled and served with carrots and a wine sauce with a dash of Marc du Champagne.
Flamiche (Flemish Leek pie)
Leeks cooked with cream in a pastry case is one of the most popular dishes in the north of France.
500g leeks, sliced finely
¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
Salt and pepper
150 ml fresh cream
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg yolk
1 small bunch chives
Warm butter with 1 tbs water in pan, add sliced leeks, stir, cover and cook over gentle heat for 5 minutes.
Season, stir in cream and cook for 5 minutes. Drain leeks and reserve liquid. Cool.
Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Using plate cut 2 circles from pastry sheets. Put one circle onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spread leeks over pastry leaving a 25 mm border.
Beat egg yolk with 2 tbs cold water and brush border with beaten egg. Place second sheet on top and crimp the edges together using a fork. Brush whole surface with remaining egg.
- Allow to sit for 20 minutes then bake from 20/25 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
- Return cooking liquid to pan and reduce to a creamy consistency.Add chives and correct seasoning.
Serve warm, cut into wedges with sauce on top.
- Always use fresh young leeks.
- Be careful to seal edges and add a vent hole.
- A great luncheon dish or as an entree.