If you haven’t already heard the news, Dany Boon’s film “Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis” a humorous portrayal of a town in France’s northern Picardy region (also referred to as Pas de Calais), has become a box office hit, rivaling the 1966 “La Grande Vedrouille” with with one of France’s funniest actors Louis de Funes. Apparently Hollywood is poised to jump on the Ch’tis bandwagon by buying an option to make an ‘American version’ of this hugely successful comedy. It remains to be seen whether Hollywood is capable of recreating the charm.
What is extraordinary about this film is an awakening to this often neglected region of France – associated more often with gray skies, and bleak mining towns in spite of some of the region’s efforts to establish forward looking, culturally attuned cities like Lille.
Suddenly the endearing image of ‘a town with heart and soul’ has brought this northern regions’ people, dialect and and products to the forefront. The regional cheese ‘maroilles‘ is flying off the shelves.
And then there are the endives – called the ‘Pearls du Nord’.
The reason I mention the ‘Pearls du Nord” is because we tried some last night.
Our Norman friends admit that the ‘Pearls du Nord’ outrank Norman endives in every way.
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‘Pearls du Nord,” are the best, Jean-Pierre says, because there’s not the slightest bit of bitterness. The Picardy endives are pearl white and larger than endives from other parts of France.
If you’re interested in trying the ‘Pearls du Nord’, you’ll want to mix them with a little bit of crumbled Roquefort cheese,
slices of fresh orange, a balsamic honey mustard sauce and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.
(This is a Parislogue recipe which I tried out last night with great success).
Endives (Perles du Nord) sliced in slivers
Roquefort Cheese (crumbled)
Honey-Mustard Balsamic salad dressing.