Match of the week | Normandy cider and creamy sauces

Match of the week

Normandy cider and creamy sauces

Our final port of call on our recent French trip was a modest family run restaurant at Bourneville called Risle-Seine, a few minutes off the autoroute between Le Havre and Rouen (and therefore ideally placed for a last minute lunch before catching the ferry). It has no great pretensions but does what it does really well: simple classic country food served with decent, well-priced wines - and cider, we discovered this time.

As an aperitif I had a glass of gentle semi-sparkling cidre fermier from a local producer M. Lambert of St Thurien. French farmhouse cider has that classic cider apple flavour but tends to be rounder, sweeter and slightly less bitter than English cider and it was really delicious served with a feuilleté of asparagus with a rich cream and chive sauce.

We tend to be so paranoid about cream these days that one forgets just how delicious unpasteurised cream and a good creamy sauce can be. As with other sauces it becomes the most important part of the dish so far as choosing an accompanying drink is concerned, leading you towards a cider or a full-bodied white such as Chardonnay rather than a more aromatic white or a red. The combination would work equally well whether the sauce accompanies asparagus, chicken or salmon or indeed contains cider as an ingredient as in a creamy chicken and cider casserole or pie.

And for value for money you just can’t beat cider: my glass cost an extraordinary 2.10€ - just £1.42 ($2.79)!

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