With so many friends putting in their requests to come and see us in our new home, we’re feeling the pressure. It isn’t about whether our home will meet with their approval but more about what the food is like here.
Which has meant we’ve had to try out a load of restaurants in advance of their visits. Yes, sometimes life is that hard.
Our first guest arrives in two weeks’ time: our friend Keeley. The irony is that it is her home in France that we usually go and stay in. This time, the tables are turned. Rather than Castillonnès down in Lot-et-Garonne, we’ll be spending our time here in Lille, in Hauts-de-France.
It may be the same country but the two places are worlds apart.
Lille is not awash with confit de canard and foie gras. This is the home of hearty northern fare, served with a generous helping of the local cheese, Maroilles, in case you can still do up your belt.
More often than not it comes with beer, rather than a typical Bergerac blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
“This is the home of hearty northern fare, served with a generous helping of the local cheese, Maroilles, in case you can still do up your belt”
After Keeley, we have friends coming to stay roughly every two weeks until Christmas.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re looking forward to welcoming them to our new hometown. However, there is a need to find each of them somewhere to eat that will appeal to them – and convince them we haven’t lost our minds in moving here.
For Keeley it’s seafood, for Nick it’s classic bistro staples, for the chaps it’s haute cuisine…
And that’s all before we even begin to consider the parents. Damon’s 79-year-old mother has just renewed her passport so that she can visit…
We think we’ve found some places to take them all. For Keeley, there are three great fish restaurants in the old town, L’Écume des Mers, Jour de Pêche and Quai 38. Nick will love Brasserie André. And the chaps have a choice between Le Compostelle (pictured) and a place just at the end of our road, Restaurant Sébastopol.
There is something for everyone.
Mind you, the pressure to find decent restaurants is nothing compared to the pressure on my waistline…