Normandy & Brittany

10-Days in Normandy & Brittany with Culinary Instructor Karen Gros

Gourmet leisure cruise in the bay of Cancale

Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Gourmet leisure cruise in the bay of Cancale

What better way to experience Brittany than from the sea? We join Captain Jérôme for a gourmet leisure cruise aboard his traditional fishing boat to experience Brittany as authentically as possible ~ from the sea ~ with an epicurean picnic reflecting authentic Breton fare paired with chilled Muscadet. For those who wish to participate, the captain instructs how to master the sails; or, you may simply sit back & observe.   L’An Durzunel, a traditional wooden single-mast lugger boat, was built as a replica of an ancient fishing vessel Looking beyond the canvas sail to the rocks...

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AOP Camembert cheese in Normandy

Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

AOP Camembert cheese in Normandy

As with most food items today, there is a traditional or artisanal product, as well as industrial products (in the case of Camembert, the industrial creamery giant Président, as well as others, produce pasteurized, machine-made Camembert). During my Normandy & Brittany tour, we savored a tour & tasting at Réo (orginally known Réaux), one of the last remaining traditional producers of Camembert cheese. Réaux AOC Camembert cheese and crème fraîche made from raw cow’s milk. Due to USDA regulation, all camembert found in the United States has been pasteurized. To be granted...

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The bay of Mont St. Michel & its treasures

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

The bay of Mont St. Michel & its treasures

The picturesque rural setting of the Mont St. Michel Bay consists of meadows, poppy fields, windmills and one-lane country roads meandering toward the coastline, where the Mont St. Michel abbey rises proudly from a wide expanse of sand.   At left:  The Moidrey windmill (Le Moulin à Vent Moidrey en Normandie) seen when approaching Mont St. Michel The route to the Mont St. Michel is every bit as serene and quaint as other parts of Normandy. Poppy fields stretch nearly to the coast in the bay of Mont St. Michel. Poppies of Mont St. Michel bay Approaching the Mont St. Michel, we see “salt...

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The marvel of the Mont St. Michel Abbey

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

The marvel of the Mont St. Michel Abbey

The Gothic-style Benedictine Abbey dedicated to Archangel Saint Michael, and the village that grew up in the shadow of its great walls stand perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Normandy and Brittany. Designated a world heritage site by UNESCO, the remarkable abbey is one of the most extraordinary examples of medieval religious and military architecture, and was one of Christianity’s most important pilgrimage sites from the 8th to the 18th century.  Still drawing a crowd, today over 3 million visitors annually come to the mount (of the...

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Along the Cider Route in Normandy

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Along the Cider Route in Normandy

I welcome my travelers at the St. Lazare train station in Paris, the gateway to Normandy painted a number of times by Impressionist Claude Monet.  From there, we head out to Caen, the prefecture of the Calvados department, and the capital of the Lower Normandy region.  We collect our rental van, and set out to discover the quaint Norman countryside along the Route du Cidre. Our first stop is lunch at an authentic Norman restaurant, Au P’tit Normand, in the picturesque village of Cambremer, situated in the heart of Calvados.   Read more about this delightful lunch of exceptional local...

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Norman lunch in the heart of Calvados

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Norman lunch in the heart of Calvados

I have to say that this outstanding little restaurant, Au P’tit Normand, was one of many highlights of my Normandy Brittany tour, and an excellent introduction to Norman cuisine and culture.  Delicious ‘cuisine du terroir’* prepared from scratch by “mom”, Madame Huguette Besnard, in a warm and inviting space.  Memorable dishes served with a smile and ample patience by her charming daughter (8 Americans trying to decide what to order can be a disarming task for some), the restaurant has a cheerful, genuine family-style feel. * terroir:  A combination of land specificity and human...

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