Chateau de St. Paterne Normandy Trip

Chateau de St. Paterne Normandy Trip

A quick hour train ride away from Paris and I felt like I was in another country and it was exactly as I expected. Cows, fields of green grass, and an immediate downpour of rain. I was in Normandy for the first time and breathing in as much fresh air as I could fill my lungs with!

I had been invited to join the last two days of the Fabulous Feast in Normandy Trip organized by Delicious Connections to photograph their exciting adventures!

The rain shower had just let up when the whole van of food discoverers pulled up at the train station in Le Mans to pick me up, complete with a huge grin from the owner of the Chateau where we were staying, Charles-Henry, and long time friend of Patricia’s, the owner of Delicious Connections. Regaled with stories of the countryside and the winery they had just visited nearby, we made our way back to Chateau de Saint Paterne, a family owned little hotel in the most magnificent setting.

Traditionally French with a gorgeous yard, fabulous food, and access to Normandy and the Loire valley, it is a wonderful place to stay- I might have been dancing in circles in our room and lounging outside to catch some much needed sun that would peek through the clouds every once and awhile.

Dining-Chateau de Saint Paterne

Salon- Chateau de Saint Paterne

The next morning we were off to the market in nearby town Alencon and there was just something about it! I’d visited several markets before but this one felt really special. It was bustling with locals doing their daily shopping and I think we were they only ‘tourists’ there. The produce was outstanding, covered in dirt from the fields, lush rich healthy colors, and incredible quality. A quaint little market that was everything you imagined one would be in the French countryside.

Choufleur

Alencon Market

Fish-Alencon Market

Fromage - Alencon Market

oh how I wished I lived nearby so I could have bought eggs from this lady! Best advertising ever!

Chickens- Alencon Market

And then there was the apple guy, with crates upon crates of different varieties of apples and bottles of cider.

Apples-Alencon Market

Alencon Market- Veg

With our knowledgeable guide, Charles-Henry, we picked up produce for a cooking class and the meals they would be cooking at the Chateau for the next few days.

Then it was off to explore the city, including this cute chocolate shop, Chocolats Glatigny. There we tried a regional specialty, a chocolate with a ganache center and a hard meringue shell.

Chocolat

Chocolats

The next stop was a lovely little town for lunch. In France there is a designation of “les Plus Beaux Villages en France,” and this one was most certainly beautiful! It was made ever so sweet too by the clear skies that awaited us after dodging thunderous rain and hail(!) on the drive over.

St Ceneri le Gerei

Lunch was at a little cafe that had been around for quite awhile. After we’d finished eating, our waiter motioned us upstairs where he showed us artwork that had been painted directly on the walls by starving artists to pay for their meals.

wall art

art work

The afternoon ended with a cooking class in the family’s private kitchens at the Chateau where we learned how to make (and flambe with Calvados) apple chicken in cider, a vegetable torte encased in cabbage leaves, and a frozen meringue and cream dessert called Vacherin that was customary to the region.

Cooking Lesson

The cherry on top was that the meal we prepared was served to all the guests at dinner that night!

Here is the recipe we made for dessert. The finished dessert tasted much like ice cream and is great to make-ahead and keep in the freezer for any occasion. A special thanks to Delicious Connections, and Charles-Henry and Ségolène de Valbray of Chateau de St. Paterne for the recipe.

Charles-Henry in the Kitchen

Vacherin Progress

VACHERINS MAISON ST. PATERNE

4 large meringues with almonds (either purchased or made at home- each meringue should be about 6 inches in diameter)

1 cup crème fraîche

4 eggs (pasteurized)

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, crème fraîche, sugar and vanilla.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold gently into the egg mixture.

Crush the meringues into big pieces and add them to the above preparation. You might not use all of the meringue, just watch the consistency. Any extra meringue is great to serve with the finished dessert.

Put in the freezer in crown molds (round molds) and serve with chocolate sauce or a red fruit coulis.

 

It was such a wonderful trip and I’m so thankful to Delicious Connections for having me along!

 

To stay at the Château:

Château Hôtel de Saint Paterne

4 rue de la Gaieté

72610 Saint Paterne

http://www.chateau-saintpaterne.com/

 

 



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