From The World-Class Master Chefs
From time to time as accredited food writers we get invites to witness and taste the expertise of chefs from countries other than the subcontinent. We know readers of our website are true gourmets with an interest in all culinary matters, so we have created this page to share these experiences with you. but if you want to taste the food, you'll just have to get yourself to the country in focus and taste it for yourself!
A Taste of Normandy
3rd October 2007
The French Ambassador's Residence
Kensington Palace Gardens
This splendid evening at this most prestigious venue was held specifically for members of the Guild of Food Writers (the UK's association of professional food writers, journalists and broadcasters) by chefs from five top Norman restaurants who demonstrated a number of recipes.
- Didier Robin from Chateau La Cheneviere, Port-en-Bessin, Clavados.
- Frank Quinton from Manoir du Luys, Bagnoles de l'Orne.
- Jean-Marie Huard from Le Petit Coq au Champs, Champagny, Eure.
- Anthony Riche from Hotel des Ormes, Barneville-carteret, La Manche.
- Wilfred Chapelin from Domaine Saint Clair, Etretat, Seine Maritime.
In addition a magnificent display of fruits de mer was put on by the Association du Marche aux Poissons de Trouville. Normandy's cuisine relies on two primary sources.
Its extensive coastline provides an abundance of freshly caught seafood, while the lush green countryside is ideal grazing for its dairy herds to produce the rich cream that forms a basis for so many regional dishes and cheeses.
Apple orchards are another regular feature of the Norman countryside, although only one variety of apple (red carlville) is cultivated on any great scale for eating. The majority are grown specifically to make a variety of ciders, also Calvados - a strong and hugely popular apple brandy.
Poultry too, is exceptional all over Normandy, and the lamb, particularly that from around the Cherbourg peninsula, is rated by many food experts as being some of the very best in the world.
Normandy cuisine tends to be simple, often rich (all that cream), and delicious. Cheeses are far too numerous to fully list here, but some of the best known are: Neufch'l, Pont-L'Ev'e, Livarot (otherwise known as the "Colonel"), and the round Camembert of Marie Harel. Petit-suisse is a fresh cheese that is eaten as a dessert. Pastries are also popular, especially (of course) apple turnovers and tarts covered in thick cream.
Much of Normandy's food produce, although usually available throughout the region, has become associated with certain towns - for instance Dieppe sole, Rouen duck, oysters from Courseulles, the butter and creams of Isigny, the creamy omelettes of the Mont Saint Michel, the Vire andouille sausages, tripes cooked "a mode de Caen", the "boudin" sausages of Mortagne, and the recent introduction to the region of foie gras. Local desserts include: "bourdelots" or "teurgoule", or such sweets as Isigny toffees or apple sugars from Rouen.
Little if any wine is produced here, and many Normans drink the local cider, still or sparkling, dry or sweet, or perry, with an occasional pause for a shot of to clear the palate: " The meal ends typically with a glass of Calvados apple brandy, the famous "trou normand, or Benedictine liqueur. But before you slip into the abyss, don't forget to visit the Bayeaux Tapestry in Caen.
Picture courtesy Brittany Ferries copyright , Text based on the copyright text of Comitonal de Tourisme de Normandie www.normandy-tourism.org and Brittany Ferries www.brittany-ferries.co.uk