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Oldways in Normandy: Camembert and Calvados

April 28, 2010

“I don’t know where I’m gonna go when the volcano blows…” The Jimmy Buffet song kept dancing through my head for most of a week, while that unpronounceable volcano in Iceland fumed and sputtered, and it looked like Oldways’ latest trip – Normandy: Camembert and Calvados – might be canceled. But in the end, air traffic started up once again, and an extraordinary group of culinary aficionados met up with Dun, Sara and me in Honfleur, France this week.

Let’s get right to the point. Honfleur is achingly quaint and beautiful, but we’re here for the food more than anything – to explore the traditional ingredients and tastes of Norman food, with the help of author Susan Herrmann Loomis (on left below), who has her own cooking school here in Normandy.

Every time we lift a fork to try something new, Susan stands up, taps her glass to get our attention, and tells us just what we’re eating, when it’s at its freshest, how to prepare it, and what pairs well with it, from wines to spices and herbs.  Join us (virtually) for a taste of some of our favorite dishes from the first few days.

Salade Chevre Chaud – Salad with toasted goat cheese on crispy toasted chunks of baguette (Sara’s all-time favorite, this time with bacon added).

Curried Mussel Soup with Baby Shrimp – A wonderfully light cream broth infused with the taste of the sea and just a touch of curry, and swimming with tender shrimp and mussels, served to us at l’Auberge de la Source in nearby Barneville-la-Bertran.

Radishes, also at l’Auberge de la Source. We ate them the French way, with Normandy’s wonderful butter and some salt. Hot tip: if you score the end of the radish with your knife the butter sticks to the radish instead of clinging to your knife. Such a simple dish but so spring-is-here.

Grilled sea bass (bar, in French) on a bed of leeks with mussels and cream sauce, at Le Bréard in Honfleur.

Trio of Norman Cheeses – Camembert, Livarot, and Pont l’Evêque cheeses, on a bed of spring lettuce, at la Domaine de Saint-Hippolyte, where we saw Livarot and Pont l’Evêque being made.

Strawberry Soup – Fresh berries poached in red wine, with a scoop of ginger ice cream and candied almonds on top, at La Fleur de Sel in Honfleur.

We’ll be sharing more sights and tastes from Normandy soon. Until then, au revoir – which is what these Norman cows seem to be saying to us.

– Cindy

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2010 6:02 pm

    my word it looks amazing, the baguette pieces are so thick! The ginger icecream with strawberries sounds heavenly…. I love all the pics, looks like you had a fabulous time 🙂

  2. Charlie Wills permalink
    April 30, 2010 12:08 am

    Wonderful what the French can do with whole grains.

  3. Elizabeth permalink
    April 30, 2010 4:42 pm

    The food looks so good! Yes, I’m jealous.
    …and the cows were outside! Love to see cows being cows, not a CAFO product.

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