Whatever your tastes, Picardy is the ideal destination if you want to get a real flavour of France. From Michelin-starred restaurants and world-famous champagne houses to simple moules frites by the seaside, hearty rustic stews and the likes of ficelle picarde (baked ham, mushroom and béchamel pancakes), this foodie hotspot has gourmet experiences and culinary discoveries at every turn that make it perfect for a couples’ gastronomic getaway.
A good place to begin is the regional capital Amiens, with a great choice of restaurants and an array of specialities including duck pâté, andouillettes d'Amiens (minced pork balls) and macarons d’Amiens (macaroons). This city’s main covered market, Les Halles du Beffroi (open Tuesday to Sunday) is a cheese-lover’s paradise, stocking Picardy specialities including Tomme au Foin, Rollot and Bray Picard. If you’re in town on a Saturday, there’s also a market dedicated to local farm producers, on rue Léon-Blum, and a floating market with vegetables fresh from the city’s hortillonnages (market gardens).
To the northwest, the Baie de Somme should be top of your list if you love seafood (mussels, scallops, oysters, crabs and lobsters to name just a few), but make sure not to miss its famous agneau de pré-salé or saltmarsh lamb, raised on meadows rich with mineral salts from the sea.
If you have a sweet tooth, meanwhile, Picardy won’t disappoint. Sample authentic, unctuous crème Chantilly in the cottage-like Restaurant du Hameau in the grounds of the Château de Chantilly, on top of fresh strawberries or tingling sorbets. And in the gorgeous medieval village of Gerberoy, known for its blooms, make sure to order the fromage frais dessert incorporating candied roses, Le Petit Gerberoy.