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Normandy/Brittany foodie recommendations

m
mjgauer May 24, 2011 10:41 AM

Hi all

I'll be spending a week in South Normandy in a couple weeks, a little bit in-the-middle-of-nowhere it seems, near le Grand Celland. Looks like the nearest town of note is Avranches.

I have some scanning of others comments and have a few must-do places to try - obviously Cancale, (Le Surcouf potentially). Also keen to try Auberge de la Porte from the board recommendation and have seen good things written about Le Moulin de Jean in Cuves.

Would love to visit SaQuaNa but fear I probably can't drag my companions that far.

Can anyone recommend any other 'foodie destinations' around there - markets of note/regional specialities etc? We probably have about an hours-drive limit on locations

Any thoughts/recommendations would be much appreciated!

  1. DaTulip May 27, 2011 10:21 AM

    I'd like to tack on a question since it is Normandy related - albeit regarding the northern part. We'll be doing the DDay beaches drive from Arromanches to Carentan. We would like to do a picnic lunch along the way. Any good shops you recommend in the area for putting together our supplies?

    1. p
      pj26 May 27, 2011 09:22 AM

      And do try to get to Le Moulin de Jean in Cuves if you can - we ended up going twice when we were there, the staff are just lovely and the food excellent.

      1. Parigi May 24, 2011 11:28 AM

        That part of Normandy is quite far from Saquana. Honfleur is a lovely place to stay overnight, but a day trip from southern Normandy would be too stressful.
        And do you mean Ferme de la Porte at Saint Jouan des Guérets? I am afraid I was the guilty party who recommended it. Remember a ferme-auberge is different from a restaurant: (1) It is not open every day, only a few meals a week. It is first and foremost a farm. Therefore don't forget to reserve. (2) One goes to ferme-auberges not for sophisticated food but for exceptional freshness of ingredients. Sometimes non-French visitors are disappointed because they are expecting a sophisticated countryside restaurant, even though the word "ferme" and "auberge" are in the term "ferme-auberge". I love them because there's no freshness like them.
        For the part of Normandyt/Brittany where you are going, I remember some exceptional recommendations in Saint Malo but can't cite any names, which you can search easily I'm sure.

        13 Replies
        1. re: Parigi
          mangeur May 24, 2011 12:35 PM

          FWIW, Michelin"itineraries" says that it's just short of two hours by car from le Grand Celland to Honfleur. If one REALLY wanted to eat at SaQuaNa, lunch is doable.

          Or one could steal a night and stay in Honfleur. We will do just that in a few weeks, staying at La Cour Sainte Catherine. http://www.coursaintecatherine.com/

          1. re: mangeur
            Parigi May 24, 2011 12:39 PM

            Am also a huge fan of La Cour Sainte Catherine.

          2. re: Parigi
            m
            mjgauer May 25, 2011 01:43 AM

            It was indeed your recommendation I saw! The farm-style experience sounds great. I'm having a little trouble interpreting the website with my lack of french language skills - do you know if they post their open days on the site?

            Will check out those Saint Malo recommendations, thanks for the heads up.

            It sounds like you know the area well, are there any particular towns/markets you can recommend either for food or just being particularly pleasant?

            1. re: mjgauer
              Parigi May 25, 2011 03:02 AM

              I only know the area around Cancale-St Malo and along the river Rance, and the area around Honfleur in Normandy.
              Dinan is a lovely old town. St Briac sur mer is a beautiful seaside town - very laidback chic - with a very good market.
              Ptipois and Julot are the ones who know that part of Brittany inside out.
              You are one of very few hounds who seem to use the search function, bravo. Therefore if you know this thread in which Deluccacheesemonter and Soupphie (Julot) and others contributed great info including Brittany, please ignore:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/618459

              And have you searched under "Bretagne". Many threads use that spelling.

              Brittany is one of my fave regions of France for its physical beauty and its food. -- Throw me to the wolves: I prefer Brittany to Lyons and its heavy saucy offering. You will have a great time.

              1. re: Parigi
                m
                mjgauer May 25, 2011 06:40 AM

                Thanks for the tips - I hadn't seen that thread so good to have a read! It seems a lot of the good spots tend to be further north around Honfleur or further west past Saint Malo but I'm sure we'll be able to find some good spots close to home too - St Briac Sur Mer looks lovely!

                Thanks again

                1. re: mjgauer
                  Parigi May 25, 2011 07:00 AM

                  Nearer where ou are is the ferme-auberge Le manoir de Guelle in Cérences. The farm is in an 18th century farm house and specializes in duck. I have not eaten there but my rich tailor who has a country house nearby recomended it.
                  But her absolute fave is Le Clos des Sens in Coutances, which the Fooding boys rave about too.
                  You should also taste agneau présalé, which is a specialty of that corner of France (but do not, I repeat don't, eat in Mont St Michel).

                  1. re: Parigi
                    m
                    mjgauer May 27, 2011 05:15 AM

                    Lovely - we're going to try Le manoir de Guelle and will heed you advice on Mont St Michel!

                    Thanks for all your tips - much appreciated

                2. re: Parigi
                  Laidback May 25, 2011 07:26 AM

                  "Deluccacheesemonter"

                  I think that is even better than Delucacheesemonger.

                  1. re: Laidback
                    Parigi May 25, 2011 07:33 AM

                    And he would too.
                    The consensus here is on Monsieur Cheese Locust.

                    1. re: Parigi
                      Delucacheesemonger May 27, 2011 06:32 AM

                      Back in States one day, and miss you guys desperately already. As Parigi said under no circumstances EAT IN MONT ST MICHEL, la 'Merde' Poulard owns all food concessions on island and they redefine the word dreadful.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                        mangeur May 27, 2011 07:41 AM

                        Good advice, P and DCM. However, if you find yourself in desperate need of sustenance (as when I thought one of our party of four was going to kill or be killed), you can do a lot worse than Crêperie La Sirène. This is a simple little dining room upstairs from a souvenir shop on the left side of the main street as you walk up the hill. Very good savory crepes and cider. Not expensive, especially compared to the creperie across the street and up the hill that boasts a view. The cook and server are straight out of central casting.

                        It is difficult to plan your visit to the Mont so as to completely avoid mealtime and at the same time spend as much time as you need to see everything.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                          Parigi May 27, 2011 09:26 AM

                          Or one could pack a picnic in Avranches or Cancale, depending which side one coems from. My fave picnic spot there is the exquisite fishing village of Genêts. It even has picnic tables facing Mont St Michel. The Mairie of Genêts also organizes daily low-tide walks to MSM with an experienced local guide.

                          1. re: Parigi
                            mangeur May 27, 2011 10:02 AM

                            These sites would be in addition to rather than included in one's visit to MSM, I would think. I know that by the time we arrived at the Mont late morning and walked the ramparts and streets and read about what we were seeing and visited the church, we were late into the afternoon. We definitely needed some food.

                            And try as I may, I can't talk my husband into being the picnic mule. He is strictly a "picnic via auto" kind of guy, not willing to haul food and drink more than a hundred yards from the car to a picnic site.

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