More Normandy news

Saint Lo on market day

It can be very wet and windy in South West France, but when we were there at the tail end of this September, it was a beautiful warm late summer splurge of sunshine with just a light sprinkling of showers. We spent a day at Saint Lo market where I got very excited by the extraordinary array of delicious food on offer. I’ve never seen so many different varieties of tomatoes. Green Zebras were my favourite, but the orange and yellow ones were gorgeous too. The dark exotic Zulu tomatoes were also impressive. There were all kinds of squash and pumpkins just coming into season, black radishes and purple peppers.

A herd of green Zebras

Every kind of cheese under the sun was for sale, including huge wheels of Comte.Comte is made from unpasteurised cow’s milk and is one of the most popular varieties in France. It is made in huge circular discs and has a strong, slightly sweet taste. It also has its own distinctive aroma. If you open a fridge which is home to some Comte – your nose will know about it immediately.

 

Wheels of Comte

The town of Saint Lo has had quite a turbulent history. It is the third largest town in Normandy and has been both a part of England and a part of France in its time. During WWII it held a strategic position at a crossroads and was almost totally destroyed during its German occupation. It was even questioned whether to rebuild it or leave the ruins intact as a testimony to the bombing. One American soldier apparently commented “We sure liberated the hell out of this place.” These days things are more peaceful. You can wander the market buying giant prawns, oysters, locally made Cidre, bread and beans and know that every single thing you buy will taste so much better than its English supermarket counterpart. Or try a delicious Galette – the famous Normandy savoury crepe.The French haven’t really got used to tasteless processed food yet although sales of white sliced bread are apparently on the increase, and set to replace the daily baguette. It’s a slippery slope..
Which one shall I have?
The next day we walked into the nearby village of Villebourdon, for the lunchtime special. The lunchtime special in Normandy consists of a four course meal for 11 Euros plus an aperitif which is usually some wine with a liqueur in it followed by some local Cidre again. In this case the liqueur was Creme de Mur – blackberry liqueur. Very tasty. And then a selection of salads and meats, steak and frites (or jambon) a dessert and a coffee. I defy anyone to go back to work after that. The cafe was called Les Routiers and it would certainly get my seal of approval.
Your welcome drink Madame
 Normandy is a region with a wealth of fascinating history. The Normandy landings, the Mont St Michel, the Bayeux tapestry – but for this visit,  food and wine and sunshine made for a perfect Autumn break.
Normandy Cidre
Normandy dog
 

 

Normandy veg