Whenever we are in Normandie, Saturday means only one thing, a day out in Honfleur.
Honfleur is a beautiful fishing town at the mouth of the Seine and is famous for several reasons. Firstly, it was from Honfleur that the explorer Samuel de Champlain left to discover Canada in the 1500′s. Honfleur is also said to be the birth place of Impressionisim; local artist Eugene Boudin, followed in the steps of Turner experimenting with painting various different weather conditions and passing on his ideas to other Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet. Honfleur first became prosperous due to salt and is sill famous for salt and seafood today. In the 16th century, Fishermen began to venture further afield for their catch and needed a way to preserve the fish until they returned home and so, used salt. End of history lesson!!
The market each Saturday in Honfleur is a mixture of clothes, household goods and food. It is a vibrant affair frequented by a tourists and locals alike. The prices may be a bit steaper than other local markets or supermarkets but, as many Parisians spend their weekends in the port town, what else would you expect!
Being me, I was more interested in the food part of the market. There was a wonderful array of vegetables, meats, cheeses with some stalls simply selling strawberries or honney. The majority of goods were produced by sellers local to Honfleur or artisan farmers in the Normandie region.
Neil sampled some delicious cider made in nearby Pont L’Eveque. Sadly, as I was on antibiotics, I could only sample the apple juice from the same farm although this was very tasty too. As a treat, we decided to purchase a few bottles of each. Cider on the market is generally a few euros more expensive than you can expect in the large supermarkets however, I like supporting local farmers and purchasing local products.
We also sampled some saucisson. As Neil is a big fan of chorizo, I thought this delecacy would appeal to him. We chose a ‘natural’ and a ‘smoked’ although there was a large variety of flavours on offer such as roquefort, venison and camembert. Neil and I thoroughly enjoyed the saucisson although Neil still reckons he prefers chorizo and I would be inclined to agree with him; saucisson is much fattier.
Of course, we had to stop by the patisserie and purchase some french bread. Neil adores french sticks and I think this was the main appeal of coming to France for him!! In our limited French, we managed to purchase a French stick and a larger loaf. There were so many other delcious looking temptations on offer from almond crossiant, a loaf that looked like it had raspberries or strawberries in, almond crossiants and a loaf containing lardons et camembert (baacon and cheese)!
My parents also wandered round the market buying strawberries, melon and medjoul dates. All the fruit and vegetables looked so big and fresh, definitely aa contrast to what you can buy in your local Tescos.
After a beautiful long lunch, we couldn’t resist looking in some of the foodie shops around the town. If you are a foodie and love cooking, Honfleur is the place to be! There are numerous shops selling cider and calavados, beautiful looking patiseries selling macaroons, pastries and indulgent looking chocolate creations, tea shops, chocolate shops and even a shop that specialises in sardines!!
We couldn’t resist making purchases from Real Chocolate. This shop is a little bit pricey ( 4 Euros 85 per 100g of chocolate balls!!) but it was also delicious. Neil and I purchased different flavoured chocolate balls such as tarte tartin (apple), framboise (raspberry) and caramel et sel (caramel and salt) which all had a crispy center, kind of like Maltesers. We didnt get much value for money though as we only got about 16 Malteser sized chocolates for 4 Euros!! Mom and Dad decided to go for some pistachio nougat, about 8 Euros for a medium piece!!! Maybe more of a place to go for a special occasion.
Honfleur is without a doubt a foodie’s paradise. With beautiful restaurants, architecture, shops and markets you really cant go wrong!! Definitely worth visiting on a Saturday but be aware, the market is all over by 1pm!