© Brad Pict - Fotolia.comDiscover this region of France by sampling some of the dishes that show off locally sourced ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Pigs’ trotters are a delicacy here, though some might prefer to start with a speciality like potée champenoise (a simple stew) instead! We particularly enjoyed the selection of cow’s milk cheese and the pretty pink biscuits from Reims…

Savoury

Le jambon de Reims – the local ham is often shredded and used to make a delicious terrine with jelly. It’s perfect enjoyed as a starter.

Pieds de porc à la Sainte-Menehould – pigs’ trotters, a speciality from Sainte-Menehould in the Marne. The bones inside are edible, though the cooking method is a closely guarded secret…The annual Foire aux Pieds de Cochon is held in the spring.

Andouillettes de Troyes – the traditional ingredients include: a pig’s large intestine and stomach, onions, salt and pepper.

Champagne sauerkraut – goes well with pork. The Aube in Champagne is the second largest producer of cabbage in France.

Ardennes ham – a cured meat not unlike prosciutto from Italy.

La dinde rouge des Ardennes – a slow growing breed of turkey that lives outdoors.

Reims mustard – a mixture of champagne wine vinegar, mustard seeds and spices.

Haute-Marne truffles – in season from mid-September to mid-March.

Rethel white sausage – otherwise known as boudin blanc.

Reims vinegar – white wine vinegar from champagne.

Potée champenoise – a hearty stew made from pork, sausages and root vegetables.

Chaource (AOC) – this soft, creamy cow’s milk cheese is often used to make mushroom fondue.

Langres (AOC) – another soft cow’s milk cheese. This one has a distinctive orange crust and a strong smell!

Rocroi – a soft, square shaped cow’s milk cheese that is low in fat and covered in a brown rind.

Sweet

Les biscuits roses de Reims – these little pink biscuits are designed to be dipped in a glass of champagne. They are flavoured with vanilla and were originally dyed pink to disguise unsightly black vanilla seeds. The best biscuits come from Fossier, the oldest biscuit maker in France. They are also crumbled up and used to make anything from glace aux biscuits roses (ice-cream) to chocolats aux biscuits roses (chocolates).

Bouchons de champagne – hollow chocolate champagne corks filled with Marc de champagne.

Croquignoles de Reims – very crunchy meringue-like biscuits, often used as decoration.

Drinks

Prunelle de Troyes – a digestif made from sloe berries.

Champagnebrut (fairly low in sugar) is the most popular type of champagne.

Marc de champagne – brandy made from champagne grapes.

Ratafia – a blend of grape juice and Marc de champagne.

Les Côteaux Champenois – the famous wine growing region of France also produces some still wine: red, white and rosé.

Ardennes beer – two of the better known brands are Princess and Ardwen.

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