Millefeuille of boudin blanc and apple, La Marquise, Arras

Boudin blanc: nothing to be scared of

I have finally worked up the courage to try boudin blanc – only to find it was a sheer delight. There was no reason to have avoided it after all.

Admittedly, I chose very carefully where to make this culinary first.

We had a day out in Arras recently. The town is the capital of the Pas-de-Calais département, though with around 40,000 inhabitants, it would be fair to describe it as bijou.

At its centre is the Grand’ Place, which has typical Flemish facades – rather like Lille’s central square – and links through to the Place des Héros, where the town hall and its impressive belfry can be found.

As it was a Saturday, the square was full of market traders trying to keep the chill out by calling out enticements to passers-by. The cafés surrounding the square were busy with customers warming their hands on a coffee or a vin chaud.

We decided to have a look further afield for somewhere to have lunch. In my experience, the restaurants on the main squares don’t have to work as hard as those on the back streets. As a result, they can become lazy about what they serve.

That was how we came across La Marquise, a chic restaurant tucked away on the cobbled Rue des Petits Vieziers. It is one of those restaurants where there is a choice of just three dishes for each course – which I like, as you know it’s all fresh.

The starters included a millefeuille of boudin blanc and apples.

For years I have resisted boudin blanc for being a traditional offal dish. However, I had actually enjoyed a plate of ris de veau on a set menu at Christmas, so I was feeling emboldened.

I ordered it with confidence.

“Offal is so common on menus that the French must eat it all the time. Somehow, in trying it, I had become more French”

My faith was repaid. As the photo shows, what was served was a thing of beauty. The apples complemented the sausage and the wafer-thin pastry. I savoured every mouthful.

When the waitress came to clear our plates, I shared with her that this was my first time of eating boudin blanc. I felt that I had passed some kind of test.

Offal is so common on menus that the French must eat it all the time. Somehow, in trying it, I had become more French.

She grimaced. “Me, I can’t stand it,” she said.

So much for having to enjoy offal to fit in.

This entry was published on Saturday, 20 January 2018 at 08:48. It’s filed under Food and wine, Places and people and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

11 thoughts on “Boudin blanc: nothing to be scared of

  1. Boudin noir, I can eat happily – in fact, I’m planning to choose it at the Cyclo Club dinner next week – but I’ve never eaten boudin blanc…I wonder why? Riz-de-Veau, I are by accident once, and quite enjoyed, but I’m not sure I would choose it again. There’s usually something I’d prefer to eat on the menu! But well done, you. That’s a good tip regarding restaurants off the beaten track – I’ve never really considered that point.

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  2. I really should proof read before pressing “Post Comment” ! I ATE riz-de-Veau by accident. Hey ho.

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  3. I love boudin blanc having first eaten it years ago in a very upmarket eatery on the Thames. Boudin Noir, I tolerate but don’t seek it out but never ever come within 100 yards of me with an Andouillette. I’m interested in Arras. I might make a pit stop sometime on the endless drive from here to Calais. I’d never thought to do it before ….

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  4. very pretty.. but yuk!

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  5. Arras is nice for a browse around but not sure I’d manage the boudin blanc. I grew us as a butcher’s daughter, eating stuff I’d rather not recall and finding it rather tasty at the time – maybe because I didn’t realise what it was. But when it came to tripe? NO! I rebelled when it appeared on my plate looking like an old dishcloth! And I went right off black pudding when I learned what made it black….!

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  6. You are braver than me! I love black pudding but find the boudin noir too moist. I’ve never attempted the blanc or andouillette but they sell so much of the stuff it can’t be that bad….maybe one day!

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