So I’m back from rainy France to what would normally be a very mediocre summer in the North of England, but no, I hopped off the ferry to find….sunshine. Like real sunshine that’s given me tan lines.
I’m slightly confused, I admit, because I’d prepared myself for garden lunches in the French sun when what I actually got was frizzy hair and soggy croissants as I ran down the “rue” back to the car in the drizzle.
But I digress.
I had a fabulous time in Pas de Calais.
We tasted baguettes as light as clouds; croissants with enough butter to spread on your toast for a week and I think I even teared up in one boulangerie at the sight of the most terrific looking eclair.
The thing I enjoy most about France is their style of living.
I mean, what I’m about to say isn’t anything new but it’s something I am desperate for our nation to take on board.
People in France eat.
They really, really eat.
The children eat, the elders eat, the waiters in their chic little cafes eat and they all do so hand in hand with the one thing that my generation these days seem to overlook: Time.
As soon as the clock hits one o’ clock, it’s shutters down on all shops, signs turned to closed and unimpressed faces if you even dare tread a little toe on to their doorstep whilst they tear apart that wonderfully fresh baguette they’ve probably just bought from next door.
It’s so refreshing to see the bakeries re-open in the evening just so parents, lovers, children and shop keepers alike can take home their essentials for the evening.
And that’s what it should always be about.
Feeding the family with food made with care.
Making time to sit and eat real food, properly and sensibly.
Creating life around a table because you appreciate what’s before you, who you’re with and how you live.
So even through the rain. wind and floods, how can I describe my trip in a sentence?
Because I spent most of my time with family, around the table eating good, honest food.
Ah, très bien!
Try this regional dish which was a really new one for us. It’s called a ‘Welsh’ and one can only imagine (without meaning to offend) that it derives from…us.
But, never the less, the French are not ones to be done over in the food department now are they?!
This was one for Mr. GTMHTC of course, consisting of bread dipped in beer, covered in cheese sauce and oh, topped with a fried egg.
Could it get any more manly?!
Try and visit:
The home of Les Mis!
But if that doesn’t do it for you, the sight of the following might swoon you.
I mean how French does that look?
You can’t beat something so classic and simple.
And it was followed by caramel covered brioche…so just take my advice yes?
Le Vauban, Montreuil
For the best tarte aux pomme EVER:
And this isn’t a sick joke.
This really is thee best damn thing I’ve tasted patisserie wise in France.
There we were, just driving along the misty, gloomy roads through the French countryside and it appeared.
The pommes were perfectly sweet with a delicate crunch; the custard so delicately infused with vanilla that it melted your heart.
If you can get to Cléty, do so.
I think the true wonders of France are held in the heart of those tiny villages.
Where people live like they always have, using food from the land and recipes that they Great-Grandmothers have passed down.