Boulonnais, with its seaside location, is full of small producers and craftsmen who take the food industry to a new level.
If you would like to get an idea of the rich variety of products which Boulonnais can offer, here is a word of advice: go and visit the markets! In Boulogne-sur-Mer, Wimereux, Hardelot, Le Portel and Equihen-Plage, markets give pride of place to local producers and craftsmen. The resorts also have lovely delicatessens where many delights can be found. ‘Made in Boulonnais’ starters, main dishes and desserts are all available (as well as snacks for real gourmands!).
Fish is king
Fish, of course, reigns supreme here, since Boulogne-sur-Mer is France’s most important fishing port and there are the former fishing villages with vibrant traditions such as Le Portel and Equihen! You will have a vast range of fresh fish to enjoy. Although herring and scallops are often the seasonal stars of the show, the fishermen of Boulogne land over 70 different species of fish at the port of Boulogne each year. That is something to savour, is it not? Fish and mussels are on the menu whether you choose to eat in a gourmet restaurant or a brasserie. Here are a few essential dishes to try which will make your mouth water: a seafood platter, sole meunière, ‘welsh de la mer’ (fish with a toasted cheese topping), gainée boulonnaise (mixed vegetables and fish in a cream sauce), mussels and chips, marinated or smoked herrings, rollmops, etc.
The rural countryside in Boulonnais is a great place for making cheese. These include Camembert du Boulonnais, sablé du Boulonnais and fort d'Ambleteuse. A few well-known farms in the area produce cheeses with character using milk from local producers. Boulogne-sur-Mer is also home to master ripeners with renown far beyond its borders. To enjoy some of the cheeses, head into the centre of the resorts where there are many shops showcasing local produce. You will also find it easy to see why Boulonnais is a land of market gardeners from the delicious fruit and vegetables available on market shelves and in restaurants.
Finally, do not leave without having first tasted some of the sweet treats which delight both young and old alike. Craquelin (a crunchy cream puff) and tarte au libouli (with boiled milk) are two specialities which should not be missed. The chocolate and treats available in the bakers-pâtisseries are also a lovely indulgence to savour. Enjoy all the flavours!