In these strange times of face-masks, social distancing and the rule of six, I find my mind reverts all too often back to one particular subject: food. What should I have for lunch? Dinner? Breakfast tomorrow? Is it acceptable to make another cup of coffee yet? Can I dip into that apple tart? Oh, there are only two slices left, I might as well finish it…
Lockdown was not (and will not be) a good time for my disappearing waistline. However, it does provide ample opportunity to armchair travel; in fact, I’ve been avidly consuming content on travelling abroad for over six months now. Granted, it’s not the same as the real thing, but it’s always good to have ideas of where you’d like to go once ‘this’ is all over, or to indulge in some nostalgia by looking over photos of trips abroad back in the good old days.
In my case, many of these photos are from press trips to Normandy over the last four years. It’s struck me that I’ve consumed a hell of a lot of amazing food during these trips, and taken a hell of a lot of photos of that amazing food, yet none of them have ever made it onto the Normandy Foodie Blog. So here they are – photos of my five favourite foodie memories from Normandy – hopefully they’ll inspire you to visit once it’s safe!
Dinner with a view in Étretat (Seine-Maritime)
My first ever press trip to Normandy set quite the precedent, with a fabulous food and wine pairing menu at the Domaine Saint-Clair Le Donjon in Etretat. This hotel-restaurant affords stunning views of the cliffs so famously painted by Monet, which we enjoyed as we tucked into delicious dishes like langoustine, steak tartare, scallop, white fish, and strawberry and basil sorbet.
Saffron ice cream at the Domaine de Gauville (Eure)
One of my favourite foodie memories of Normandy is when I visited former TV executive Miriam Duteuil’s saffron farm, the Domaine de Gauville. Miriam yields about 700g of saffron a year, and sells it locally alongside a range of saffron-flavoured preserves, biscuits, cake, mustard and vinegar. When I last visited in October 2018, Myriam served me up the most delicious saffron ice cream!
Boozy banquet in a barn (Orne)
If you’re up for a rustic experience in rural Normandy, make sure you book lunch and an equestrian show at La Michaudière! This farm showcases Norman terroir, at its best, serving up in its barn a feast of terrine, cider-brazed pork, cheese and crème caramel, accompanied by lashings of cider, calvados and pommeau.* Diners then head outside to watch the farm’s 34 horses in action, which is quite the spectacle!
Boat picnic in the Chausey Islands (Manche)
Few non-French visitors to Normandy know that the region has its very own Channel Islands: the Chausey archiepelago off the coast of Granville. In September 2017, I was lucky enough to take a boat tour of Chausey with skipper Franck Voidie, which followed by the most amazingly scenic onboard picnic of fish soup, freshly-made bread and mussels caught just hours before. Delicious!
Seafood platter in Trouville-sur-Mer (Calvados)
The pretty seaside town of Trouville-sur-Mer is home to the beautiful Marché aux Poissons, which sells fish and seafood fresh off the fishing boats every day. We headed to the Poissonerie Pillet-Saiter one sunny Sunday afternoon in September 2019 to enjoy a lavish seafood platter washed down with a glass (or two) of cold white wine.*
For more information on Normandy food and drink, visit the Normandy Tourism website.
Text and photos © F. Lambert / Normandy Tourism