This weekend is ALL about France, so why not celebrate Bastille Day and France making the World Cup Final and the Tour de France passing through Normandy by trying one or two of these classic Norman dishes? Bon appétit !
1) Marmite Dieppoise (aka Normandy fish stew)
Local legend has it that this Normandy classic was invented in the 1960s at La Marmite restaurant in Dieppe, a tavern frequented by sailors and mariners. Traditionally made with mussels, prawns and four kinds of fish in a light cider and cream broth. Much better than bouillabaisse (if we don’t mind saying so ourselves)!
We recommend Diana Henry’s scrummy recipe for Normandy fish stew, as seen on telegraph.co.uk.
Normandy’s cheese board is of the most impressive in France, and contains some of the best-known types of French cheeses. Its most famous cheese is Camembert, which comes from the village of the same name. It’s hard to dine at a restaurant in Normandy and not see Camembert on the menu, whether it’s on cheese board or the main component.
We love this recipe for filo pastry baked Camembert on Le Rustique’s website, and it’s so easy to make!
3) Black pudding
Normandy is arguably home to the world’s tastiest black pudding, and the ‘French capital of black pudding’, Mortagne-au-Perche, hosts the International Black Pudding Festival every March. Boudin noir (as it is known to the French) comes in a long sausage which is then cut into thick slices and fried with apples – the perfect Norman combination!
We welcomed British chef James Martin to Normandy last year to film ‘James Martin’s French Adventure’, and are big fans of his boozy black pudding with apples and Calvados!
4) Coquilles Saint-Jacques (that’s scallops to you and me)
Did you know the majority of French scallops are caught off the Normandy coast? Ten to 15,000 tonnes of scallops are unloaded every year into Normandy’s ports and harbours, and the region’s scallops have been awarded the Red Label for their excellent quality.
If you’re feeling naughty, give this recipe for gratinéed scallops a go…
4) Tarte normande
Thanks to Normandy’s abundance of apple orchards, many of the region’s desserts are based on apples, such as the delicious apple tart. This short crust pastry-based tart is filled with apples and sugar, then topped with creamy egg custard tart and baked until the topping is slightly caramelised.
We had to share this recipe from Raymond Blanc for his mum’s tasty homemade apple tart, which contains a wee dram of Calvados apple brandy too!
5) Salt marsh lamb
This particular type of lamb comes from the Bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel and the west coast of the Cotentin peninsula, where the lambs graze in pastures that are often flooded by the sea. This farming practice dates back over 1000 years and makes for exceptionally rich, tender and naturally salty meat, which in 2013 was granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.
There’s nothing like a cut of succulent salt meadow lamb roasted with garlic on a bed of green beans – follow this simple French Entrée Magazine recipe and enjoy!
For more information on food and drink in Normandy, and for a list of all of the main food festivals in the region, visit the Normandy Tourism website.
Cover photo © E. Benard | Text: Fran Lambert