Tag Archives: Pas De Calais

Northern France – Great Biking Country

This part of France seems to be wonderful cycling country. And if that sounds a little hesitant, it’s only because being a recent recruit to the cycling cause I can’t claim to have a great deal of knowledge about the cycle-friendliness of all of the countryside in the whole of the region.

I was recently persuaded back onto a bike again after Continue reading “Northern France – Great Biking Country” »

More on “Welsh” ~ and a recipe

Following up on our recent post about the “Welsh Festival” in Boulogne,  The Pas De Calais Tourist Board has published a recipe for the local version of this famous dish, together with a very helpful explanation of the history of its name.

Here is the recipe:

And here is our translation of their explanation of the name’s derivation:

The dish was originally named Welsh Rabbit in order to signify its nature as a low quality substiute for rabbit meat.

In fact, during the 17th and 18th centuries, “Welsh” was the term commonly used for any counterfeit or substitute goods of a lower quality then the real thing.

In Wales the dish is called, “Caws-Wedi-Pobi” (meaning cooked cheese).  it is known in many countries on the European continent, where it is usually called “Ramequin”, or “Käseschnitte“.

The Little Book of Cheese Tips, £2.99

According to the experts of the Pas De Calais Tourist Board, this Welsh dish was originally made with “Chester” cheese (what we Brits call Cheshire), but is now made with Cheddar, since, they say, Cheshire is not so easily obtainable.

7VSG – lots of events planned

We’ve just received details of the full programme of events that is planned by the 7 Valleys Social Group. In case you’re not on their mailing list, we’re reproducing their newsletter here:

Line Dancing.
We are pleased to announce the start of our regular Line Dance evenings – the first being on Wednesday 25th April. Our Line Dance teacher Suzi will be in attendance to show you the steps and organise the dances. The cost of participation is 4€ pp to be paid on each night. The evenings will comprise two one hour sessions starting at 7.30pm with a break at 8.30pm. Doors open 7pm. Why not make a night of it and bring your friends too!
All our Line Dance dates until the summer holiday break are:
Wednesday April 25th
Wednesday May 9th
Wednesday May 23rd
Wednesday June 13th
Wednesday June 27th
Did you know? … Line dancing is not only a huge amount of fun, but very good exercise too!

Club summer opening arrangements – Every Wednesday evening through July & August.
For the convenience and enjoyment of our members and their family/guests the club will be open every Wednesday evening during July and August. All the club facilities will be available including games, pool table and bar.
(Special dates within this period are: July 11th BBQ and August 27th BBQ.)

Murder Mystery Night at the 7VSG Club Room — Saturday May 5th (hurry – only a few places left)
A chance for you to figure out ‘who dunnit’ and enjoy a fun filled evening into the bargain. At various times throughout the evening our drama group will be unfolding a Murder Mystery. Someone in the room is the murderer, but who? Only the ‘murderer’ him/herself will know. This event will be strictly limited to 30 places, so do please book and pay for your places early. The meal will be a cold carvery including wine, starter, main course, dessert and coffee. Vegetarian available by prior arrangement. 10€ pp inclusive … Contact Sandra on sanclarke22@yahoo.co.uk

Drama Group.
It’s all systems go for our drama group who are at present rehearsing for an Old Time Music Hall which will be performed in the summer. They are also engaged in preparations for our next Panto which already looks like it will be a lot of fun. It’s not too late for you to join our drama group. People are always needed for on stage, back stage and techies. No previous experience needed.

Local Brocantes.
Thanks to Sandra our website ‘local brocantes’ page is now updated for 2012: http://www.ourfrance.net/brocantes.html

Club information and 7VSG programme for 2012 (plus events and special summer holiday opening times)
http://www.ourfrance.net/2-7vsg1.html

A Tourist Day Out and Restaurant Review

We are pleased to re-publish a piece including a restaurant review which appeared recently in “Sand-Blog”, an occasional journal written by Frogsiders publisher and local gite owner, Patrick Hay.

“Yesterday was my birthday, and in keeping with a family tradition that now

View from the fish quay at Etaples

stretches back 12 months, we took part of the day off to put ourselves in the place of our Sandboys holiday clients, and go and do something “touristy” in the region. This time we drove a few miles along the coast to have a look at Etaples and, in particular, the Museum of the Fishing Industry, « Maréis », which we had heard was well-presented and very interesting.

Etaples used to be one of France’s biggest fishing ports in terms of the tonnage of fish landed, but over the last 50 years, the estuary of the River Canche has silted up to the point where today’s larger fishing vessels are unable to use the harbour. The fishermen of Etaples, however, unwilling to lose the town’s major industry, have simply moved their boats a few miles up the coast to the port of Boulogne.

The fishermens’ cooperative of Etaples numbers some 50 boats in its fleet. Most of them sail at the beginning of each week and remain at sea until Thursday or Friday when they return with their catch, a proportion of which is retained by the cooperative for sale in their own fresh fish shops and restaurants in Boulogne and Etaples. Some of the boats keep back a little of the catch to be sold direct to the public from the stalls on the fishmarket quay at Etaples.  Each stall is decorated with paintings and the colours of the boat to which it belongs. Altogether, in supplying, manning, and maintaining the fleet, marketing, processing, transporting, selling, cooking and serving the fish, the cooperative provides work for thousands of people in Etaples and Boulogne.

MAREIS in the old "corderie" at Etaples

At Maréis you can see how the different types of fishing nets work and the variety of fish that are caught in the Channel waters between France and the south coast of England. There are aquaria where you can see the fish up very close, and rock pools where crabs crawl among mussels, starfish, oysters, scallops, shrimps and other seashore creatures. You can stand on the bridge of a modern fishing boat with its radar screens and depth sounders demonstrating the complicated world of the fishing boat skipper. There are guided tours and demonstrations, and films showing life on the boats are screened.  Finally there’s a tank where you can gently stroke rays, as they swim playfully around from one hand to the next.

We enjoyed our visit, and left via the shop where we found some nice books, games and souvenirs including a soft toy in the shape of a ray.

As a special birthday treat in the evening we had dinner at a restaurant in Montreuil which has been getting exceptionally good reviews recently. As

Magret de Canard with lovely sauce, crisp potato cake and vegetables

a result of one of the best meals we’ve eaten in France for many years, we can thoroughly recommend L’Atelier 26, in rue d’Hérambaut.  It looks like an ordinary bar or cafe from the outside. Inside it is furnished sparsely and simply, but it is warm and there is a friendly welcome, and above all, the food is top quality at reasonable prices. After a delightful complimentary appetiser and excellent seafood starters, our main courses were Haddock with a Smoked Herring sauce, and Roast Breast of Duck with a Cocoa Bean and Hot Pepper sauce. Both were superbly cooked, beautifully balanced for flavour, and nicely presented. The “moelleux au chocolat chaud coeur coulant caramel”, Chocolate “Moelleux” dessert with a fondant centre, was superior to anything we’ve had in top London and Paris restaurants. Normally a 3 course meal of this quality would cost almost double the 65 euros we paid for two, including wine and aperitifs.

Photos of L'Atelier 26, Montreuil-sur-Mer

L'Atelier 26 at Montreuil sur Mer

We’ll certainly go again to L’Atelier 26 soon and report more details. It seems it is open at lunchtime Monday to Saturday, and evenings on Friday and Saturday only. They will serve a simple omelette and chips, or a full three course meal. On the evidence of our one visit, value-for-money is outstanding.”

This photo of L’Atelier 26 is courtesy of TripAdvisor

La Garenne ~ a funky place for satisfying food and wine

by Ian Blackshaw

Restaurants come and go in terms of quality and value for money. And one such Restaurant that has had a rather chequered history in recent years is ‘La Garenne’ in Huby St Leu, just outside Hesdin.

Grande Salle at La Garenne

My wife and I – and several of our friends – used to go there regularly
until a couple of years ago when the food went off and the prices went up.
Several of our friends – and we ourselves – have had some disappointing
meals there, when all we could hear was the ping of the microwave from the
kitchen as prepared food was heated up and then served!

Recently, we were told that that the owners had introduced a more reasonably priced menu of €19,60, instead of the previous one of €38. So a few Saturdays ago, we thought that we would give it another go – and we were not disappointed. The food was freshly prepared and there was a good choice. To make sure that this was not a flash in the pan, so to speak, we went again on Friday evening. Again, it came up to expectation and we enjoyed it very
much.

I started with escargots a la bourguignonne and my wife with a fish dish, which rejoiced under the French name of ‘dos de poisson a la crème de pistou’ – both delicious. We then chose the ‘plat du jour’, which, to reflect the season, was venison stew with a selection of well-cooked vegetables – the French generally speaking are not good at veggies! These
included – again seasonal – Brussels sprouts – and rosti potatoes, which complemented the venison, which was very flavoursome and tender, very well indeed!

For dessert, we chose one of their famous – and quite generous! – coupes: for me, a coupe garenne with rum and raison ice cream; and for my wife, a fruit berry coupe.

We chose, from their excellent and renowned – but quite pricy – wine list a 2003 Chateau-bottled Fronsac, which was served at room temperature – and, I would add, in the proper bordelais glasses! – and went down very well indeed. Incidentally, they operate a loyalty card system and on your fifth visit to the restaurant you are entitled to a bottle of their finest Champagne gratis!

As usual, we had a table by the fireplace, on which, incidentally, they cook some of their meat dishes.

‘La Garenne’ – as Jaimie Oliver might say – is a funky place, both outside and in, and lives up to its name – the warren! It was decorated for Halloween. Indeed, on the way in through the garden one was met by life-size skeletons and wild beasts! They are also well known for their Christmas decorations, albeit, for some people, somewhat ‘ott’!

The bill came to €67 and, quite full and satisfied, we paid and staggered from our table and, on leaving the restaurant, we went for a post-prandial – and much needed – walk around the block!

We will certainly be back – if only to claim the free bottle of Champagne!

Contact Details:
Restaurant ‘La Garenne’
62410 Huby St Leu
Nr Hesdin
Tel: 03 21 86 95 09
Website: http://pro.wanadoo.fr/la.garenne

Anglican Church in the Pas de Calais – News

Once again the church here in the Pas de Calais is being forced to make a new start. Our Chaplain has decided to leave the parish early and is taking up a new position in Zurich. Thus again we will be all facing a period without a resident priest. Fortunately we do have help to hand for which we are most grateful. The Reverend John Porter who was a chaplain here some time ago has agreed to conduct some services in Hesdin while The Reverend Paul Bennett from the Mission to Seafarers in Dunkirk will help out in Calais. The Boulogne congregation has just decided to have two services a month, the 1st and 3rd Sundays, at the Convent in rue Denacre in Boulogne St Martin, at least in the short term.

We will have to rely on visiting priests but inevitably some of these services will be lay person led. However we are trying to make them somewhat special. Thus the service planned for 6th November will be a Remembrance Day Service led Paul Glaister with music by Charles Vandezande. On 20th November there will be a priest led Eucharist Service –at 10.30 On 4th December we will hold a special Advent Carol Service led by Lalage Glaister with readings by the congregation and Carols selected and played by Charles Vanderzande..

On 17th December at 4pm there will be Christmas Carol Service in the Church at Estreelles followed by Mince Pies, Mulled Wine and a stall selling Christmas Goodies: This service is always well attended by both the British community as well as the French residents from the local village. Charles will again be playing the organ and we will have carols in both English and French. In Boulogne the following day 18th December there will be a Eucharist service with additional carols.

We therefore look forward to a challenging time ahead and hope that the local community will be able to support us and we will of course welcome all who wish to attend these services. For further information please go to our website at http://anglchurch.free.fr/new/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29&Itemid=47

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