A Day in Lille

Posted By Kerri


I’m not very good at getting up early, particularly at the weekends. My favourite kind of Saturday involves lounging around watching Saturday Kitchen with some tea and toast while planning what we’re going to cook that weekend.

There was no time for that this weekend though since the alarm was set for 4am ready for our day trip to Lille, courtesy of Eurostar. As part of their Little break, Big Difference campaign, a group of food bloggers were invited to spend the day in Lille, sampling some of the city’s finest food and drink.


After just an hour and a half on the train, we arrived in Lille just as the city was starting to wake up.  The architecture is beautiful and there were lots of interesting looking shops hidden down little alleyways all full of our favourite things: food and kitchenalia.


Our first stop was Meert, a pattisserie famous for it’s gaufre (waffles filled with vanilla sugar and cream). Having had breakfast on the train and macarons on the way to Meert, I don’t think anyone could be described as hungry but the window display left us in little doubt that we would be foolish to miss out. Stephen and I both ordered the gaufre and expecting something Belgian in style, we were surprised when they arrived; the French version was much smaller than the Belgian variety but intensely sweet and buttery.  They were just the right size though and the perfect accompaniment to the bitter coffee we had also ordered.


With coffee and pastries finished, we left Meert and made our way to L’atelier des chefs where we to cook our own lunch under the watchful eye of their head chef. In teams of four, we assembled tiramisu for dessert which was whisked away to the fridges to set while we got on with our main course: lacquered cod with pan-fried vegetables. Stephen and I do a lot of cooking together and have fallen into a comfortable routine so cooking with other people was a new experience for us but one which we enjoyed. Although we’ve cooked similar dishes to this at home we did pick up a couple of tips, one of which is that for crispy skinned fish, it’s better to start with a cold pan.


The last stop of the day was at La Capsule for a tutored beer-tasting. We had been expecting to visit Phillipe Olivier so that we could taste some local cheeses but he wasn’t available due to a family emergency (which he explained  in typical French style: while leisurely sipping coffee at Meert!) so the cheese was brought across to the bar instead. It felt slightly odd to be drinking beer since these kinds of events normally involve wine, I was very glad of the opportunity though since I don’t normally drink a lot of beer. Our host ran through four different beers, all of which were local to the area (and by local, I mean within 20km). Our favourite was the La Bavaisienne which was deeply hoppy with a sweet, round note.


Full of cheese but bouyed by beer, we began making our way back to the station to return back to London. We didn’t have much time to browse on the return journey but I did manage to snap up one of the last baguettes from a boulangerie on the way. It would have been lovely to have spent the evening in Lille and there were certainly plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from (not that any of us were hungry) but we made do with Champagne at the St Pancras Grand when we returned to London.  Not our usual Saturday but a lot more fun than repeats of Saturday Kitchen and queuing at Waitrose.

The full set of photographs from the day can be seen here.

Aug 22nd, 2009

10 Comments to 'A Day in Lille'

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  1. Sounds like a lovely trip – you must feel so full! You are so lucky! xxx
    .-= The Curious Cat´s last blog ..Memory Monday: Port Germein =-.

  2. I spent 4 years in Lille when I was a student and I really loved that city. A great place to go out, great food and restaurants and a very lively city.
    .-= Mathilde’s Cuisine´s last blog ..La Fourmi Ailée : Bienvenue chez vous =-.

  3. Kerri said,

    We certainly were full!

    It was a really great day, Mathilde, I didn’t want to come home but hope to get back there soon.

  4. Wow lucky you – what a score a free trip to Lille!
    .-= gourmet chick´s last blog ..Banana Tree Canteen =-.

  5. kang said,

    I’m horrible at waking up early too (weekdays included) , but I was so glad to have met both of you on this trip, I am still recovering from the cheese tasting 😀
    .-= kang´s last blog ..Nude Espresso: We are the Trio [review] =-.

  6. Liz said,

    Wasn’t it fun? Planning on going back soon, but with a later start and dinner in Lille – we walked past so many restaurants I wanted to try! Really good to meet you both.
    .-= Liz´s last blog ..Little break in Lille =-.

:: Trackbacks/Pingbacks ::

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