I should have been a bit wiser about the idea of losing weight while biking in Europe. I am a fiend for trying new food, so while I am not eating in restaurants too much, I am a picnic whore.
It makes a nice stop, every few miles or so, to check out the bakeries, butchers, and if I am lucky, an actual market. I like practicing my French and my exquisite pointing while smiling like a bafoon. Generally, I go for the oddest looking dishes and try to get the local specialties.
A typical day of food in Normandy looks like this:
Pan au Chocolat
Crusty Baguette with Paté Maison
A bit of local cheese, generally soft, milky Nuefacheal and Camebert
Bottle of Hard Cidre or a couple beers
Normandy is famous for its apples and cheese. It is a bit early for apple season, but it is melon season and the best melons I have ever had are found in all the markets. My bag often contains a heavy cantaloupe. It is also mussel season, so there is plenty of opportunity for delicious mussels and fries. Despite missing Owen, I am also eating rabbit paté now and again and have a new appreciation for gelled meats.
I have to thank one ex-boyfriend for introducing me to Norman cider, not the sweet stuff that passes as hard cider in the States, and a different ex-boyfriend for cluing me into Calvados. I was able to visit a couple cider makers. I left empty-handed at the first one I stopped at as the owners were asleep in their backyard loungers. At the other, an old lady and her grandchildren were amused when I asked if I could take pictures of their cellar. The little boy kept cycling around me yelling “Au Revoir!” and I left with a bottle of cider and a small bottle of Calvados as a gift.
I could live on Norman picnics forever. The only thing I am missing is a red-checkered table cloth.