Northern France Tourism : official website

Grains of chicory in the foreground with a chicory coffee behind

Discovered by Greeks and Romans

You must go back to 2,000 BC to find the origins chicory which is mainly grown in the North and used for its roots. The Greeks and Egyptians grew chicory and extolled its merits even then! Its use was not just culinary during the 15th century. It was also used medicinally. During Napoleonic times at the start of the 1800s and during the two World Wars, coffee became scarce, so chicory acted as a replacement in French households. It is known as ‘poor man’s coffee’. Over 2,500 hectares of chicory are grown in Nord-Pas de Calais. Only the root, harvested at the start of October, is used.

Chicory roots bear a strong resemblance to carrots
  • Chicory root harvested in 2014
  • © Chicorées du Nord SARL

From the ground to the table

Chicory is related to endive. We are all familiar with its close relations - scarole, curly endive, wild chicory and radicchio. Once it is ready to be harvested, the chicory is stripped of its leaves and then lifted using machinery. The root is cleaned, cut into slices and dried. It is then roasted (at between 150° and 180°), giving it that distinctive chicory taste. Before it then reaches your table, it needs to go through the final production stages: grinding to create chicory grains, extraction for liquid chicory or pulverisation to make chicory powder. Its caramel taste and natural bitterness give chicory a distinct and unique flavour. Add it to your coffee or sweet and savoury dishes for instant success!

Fields of chicory with its large, green leaves
  • Fields of chicory with its large, green leaves - much lighter than beet leaves
  • © Chicorées du Nord SARL

The benefits of chicory

Chicory is 100% natural and 100% plant-based and has many qualities. It aids digestion, contains no caffeine, added sugars or gluten. It is plant-based, so is richer in fibre, vitamins and minerals than animal-based foodstuffs. It can be enjoyed throughout the day as a hot drink with milk and water, in sweet pastries, or in the Nord-Pas de Calais traditional manner of just simply adding a few chicory grains to your coffee. Chicory can also be diffused in a scent burner (or in a saucer) to freshen the air in your rooms!

Chicory coffee
  • Chicory coffee
  • © Chicorées du Nord SARL
The two key players: Leroux and Lutun
Leroux chicory

In 1858, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Leroux created the Leroux brand when he took over a factory in Orchies, specialising in chicory in 1871. This resulted in the many products available today.

Lutun chicory

The ‘Chicorée du Nord’ roasting factory was created in 1934 in Oye-Plage. Four generations of the same family have roasted chicory roots on this site.

Preparation

5 minutes

Difficulty

Easy

Cooking

None

Cost

Ingredients

To make 4 scoops: 25 cl of fresh cream ● 12cl of milk ● 170g of sugar ● 3 soup spoons of liquid chicory

Method

With no need for an ice-cream maker and preparation done just a few minutes before guests arrive - it’s THE pudding solution! Mix all the ingredients together, place in the freezer or freezer compartment and then enjoy!

A scoop of chicory ice-cream
  • A scoop of chicory ice-cream - quick, simple and tasty!
  • © Chicorées du Nord SARL

Recipe of chicory ice-cream