During this trip, M. Cheesemonger and I had the pleasure of exploring the town of Pont l’Evêque, home of the eponymous cheese, and meeting Jennifer Greco, bloggeuse of Chez Loulou, which highlights her food, drink, and life experiences in Normandy and France. Woohoo! New people! New places!
We met at the countryside Auberge Le Clos St. Julien, a cozy inn nestled amongst the fields outside of Pont l’Evêque. Lunch was traditional, but with the chef’s own bit of flair. I was content with my creamy, delicate shrimp velouté; gently pan-fried cod with homemade tagliatelles and spring vegetables; and magnificent rice pudding topped with caramel sauce and slivers of candied orange. The other dishes to grace the table included herring marinated in cream sauce, thick slices of duck served with red wine reduction, and a delicious rabbit with spring vegetables. All in all, a completely respectable meal! It was unpretentious, flavorful, and pleasant, with excellent company to boot!
Following our 2.5-hour lunch, we managed to visit a herd of young Normandy cows. After I mooed at them in their native language, they approached us curiously, and then stayed to gaze at the crazy humans furiously snapping photos of them. One particularly brave cow licked my hand and jacket before deciding I wasn’t tasty.
M. Cheesemonger and I then headed toward Pont l’Evêque, stopping at a couple places along the way. A roadside butcher’s shop advertising regional products and fresh meat offered enormous deals–for instance, about 10 kg of beef for 110 euro. We walked away with some pain d’épices instead (I kind of wish we could have gotten the meat!). The Château du Breuil, a small castle and a calvados (apple liqueur) distillery, was also on the way, so we stopped by to taste the rather fine calvados, stock up on a bit of calva, and stroll a bit around the grounds.
Pont l’Evêque immediately charmed us with its colorful traditional Normandy architecture—that is, narrow houses with thick wooden beams, painted in bright colors to ward off the grey clouds and cold winters. Moreover, the gnarled wisteria that twists around so many houses was blooming! An antique fair hummed along downtown, so I had ample opportunity to wander the stalls and imagine my future French château. Before leaving, we stopped to pick up some local camembert au calvados and Pont l’Evêque cheeses.
As usual it was grey and drizzly, but it was a great day!
More pictures in the slideshow!
Please visit Chez Loulou if you, like me, dream of la vie française.
If find yourself in Normandy and hungry for lunch, you can visit L’Auberge Le Clos St. Julien: rue de l’Église; 14130 Saint Julien sur Calonne.
And if you’re in the mood for some local calvados and castles, the Château du Breuil is open for tasting: Les Jourdains; 14130 Le Breuil-en-Auge.