It’s morning at the market in Caen. Sun shines down on produce, lighting up berries and melons as traders wish me bonjour. The Friday market is one of the city’s culinary highlights, not least because it spans streets and traverses squares as it takes over the centre with its sights and scents.
But there’s more to Caen’s foodie scene than just the market, and while I’m visiting I discover a wealth of places to indulge in Normandy’s cuisine. Le Casier, for example. This casual seafood bar serves a salmon tartine from the owner’s grandmother’s recipe. And not far away the Michelin-starred A Contre Sens serves a creative gazpacho with strawberries and mustard ice cream. On the more traditional end, Le Clou de Girofle in the historic Vaugueux quarter serves comforting food like risotto and chocolate mousse.
Further afield, the Ferme de Billy has one of the best brunches I’ve had in years (and I’m American, so I’ve had a lot of brunches over the years). Its lavish spread features everything from tortillas to tapenade, tuna to tarts filled with chocolate and peaches. All displayed on long farmhouse tables, it’s a work of culinary art.
North of Caen, Ouistreham has its share of good restaurants, too. Lunch at La Villa Andry sees ceviche with avocado mousse brought to the table followed by a hefty portion of skate. It’s a great meal for the seaside.
And perhaps that’s the best thing about eating in Normandy. The food always feels close to home. I end my trip the way I started it: with a trip to the market. The Sunday market is bigger and more varied than the Friday one, but there’s still plenty of sunshine on the berries and melons, and enough food to tempt me to take it all home to savor until my next trip to Caen.
For more information on food and drink in Normandy, visit the Normandy Tourism website.
All photos and text © A Lady in London