Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Village in Normandy

Our flight landed half an hour early, and with almost no one else on the road at dawn on a sunday morning, it only took us an hour and 5 minutes to reach our base of operations for the next 2 weeks: La Morinière.

My husband's family's country home is in a village so tiny I was able to draw a map of it.

My daughter and I took a walk into the village, past the little mairie, to the tiny church where my in-laws got married and whose nave dates, I believe, from the 12th century.

Under a light drizzle we spent a quiet moment at the grave of her great-grandmother, a special woman I am so glad we had a chance to get to know. I'll remember that sacred space and time with my daughter always.

It's only our first day and we've already eaten three gourmet meals. My husband's aunt creates what she calls "simple but typical" French meals. I think they are some of the most delicious I've had, as good as any I've had in a fact, better, because of our beautiful country setting. The fruits in our tarts, jams, and sorbets come from trees in our garden. We can also pick and eat our very own haricots verts, onions, and other vegetables. The wine and cheese - and, at last, some fromage blanc - are all just what you'd drive to a gourmet food store to get, only here they're widely available.

Breakfast: pain grillé, homemade confiture, chocolat au lait chaud

Lunch: pork roast, haricots verts, sautéed potatoes, salad, assorted cheeses, mirabelle tart

Dinner: quiche made with lardons (I was invited to make the custard - nervous about it, but it turned out well), salad, cheeses, fresh raspberries with fromage blanc

The mirabelle was a fruit I hadn't seen before. It's a type of small plum, the size and consistency of a large grape, with beautiful gold and red skin and the taste of peaches. My son, my mother-in-law, and I went outside to pick some at dusk, shaking them off the trees behind the house and culling them from the grass. By then the sun had let some beams through again. The weather turns quickly here in Normandy; it's been sunny and drizzly off and on all day, but always pleasant. We've had a beautiful start to our time here this summer.

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