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The Potjevleesch, tradition on a plate

In Flanders, there are many culinary specialities that we learn to enjoy with the family and find in many restaurants in the city of Lille and its surroundings. The Potjevleesch is one of these Flemish dishes we can commonly find in the north of France and in Belgium.

The recipe for "potch"

What is more difficult: to pronounce or spell the name of this dish which means "pot of meat" in the Flemish language?

Potjevleesch, Potjevlees, Pot'je Vleesch or Potjeveleisch, also colloquially dubbed "Potch" by our Belgian neighbours.

This dish consists of cuts of meat like pork, rabbit, chicken and veal that are marinated in white wine or beer, then cooked together and cooled in successive layers in a terrine with a vinegar gelatin. It's this base of wine and candied spices that preserves the meat. Of course, the recipes and variations are multiple according to every family's tradition.

The Potjevleesch is usually prepared the night before for the next day. Its appearance is not very appetising, it's served cold, traditionally with fries and/or salad, and quite often, you end up asking for more!


The historical origin

Retracing the history of this dish is not an easy thing to do. A version indicates that it was invented in Dunkirk by poor families who only consumed the meat of the animals they raised in their gardens, i.e. chickens, rabbits and poultry.

Legend has it, that the dish was intended for workers in the fields who had lunch on the spot, and so it should be able to be eaten cold, and it was also served at festive family gatherings.

The possibility that the Potjevleesch recipe was originally created and listed in the 14th century was also mentioned. It was indeed found in a manuscript of Taillevent, the cook of the Kings and a reference in the matter in the Middle Ages.


Today, contrary to popular belief, it's the best cuts of meat that are used for the terrines of Potjevleesch, and not the cheap cuts as a lot of people might think.

Finally, you should also know that every two years the Potjevleesch International Competition is organised by the Federation of Charcuterie and rewards the originality of professional or amateur gourmets under the age of 25. If you are passing through the Flanders region, don't miss out on this iconic dish.


So, ready for the experience? To your forks!

Where to taste the potjevleesch?

La Clé des Champs
300 rue d'Helfaut
62570 Helfaut

Les Ptiots
35 rue de Gand
59800 Lille

Le Galibot 
17 rue Paul Lelong
75002 Paris


Others stories?

Discover the history of Villa Cavrois ​​​​​

Le Merveilleux dessert from the north of France

The impressive Goudale brewery of Saint-Omer


You are visiting the Hauts-de-France and you want to visit the north? Let you guide for a visit with one of our "Amis français" in the Hauts-de-France!

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