May 31, 2007 - Rouen

I woke to a brilliant blue sky this morning, but at 8:30 the clouds began to roll in again. We drove to Rouen for the day and had appointments to visit the faincerie and the fromagier. I love the pottery, but it doesn't really match my decor at all so I opted to buy just a tiny sign for our new wine cellar as a souvenir.

The fromagier, Francois, was this adorable young French man - too bad he's married with kids or he'd be perfect for Susan. He was as passionate about his cheese as Herve was his wine and they both talk about how important sight and smell are before taste. We sampled both a young and an old Comte which is the top selling cheese in France by weight - it's slightly tangy like a Parmigiano, but really buttery. Once again I was surprised to see I really like the harder cheese better.

We dined at Restaurant 37, a trendy new sister restaurant to a Michelin 2-star place next door. Our lunch was selected for us by the chef:

Parmesan crackers
Cod cooked in a slightly acidic broth with braised carrots, fennel and celery as a bed
Dessert was a fudgy chocolate cake on a shortbread crust with a quennelle of raspberry sorbet surrounded by macerated berries - WOW!

After lunch we had free time to shop (my haul included new shoes, a boning knife for fish, Comte cheese, a cheese board, beer meant to go with cheese, and some French eye cream) and then I met up with Silvestro and Vicki for a coupe du Champagne right neat the Cathedral. The skies opened up just as we got into the car!

The evening was a free night (Susan's son had a school play and in hindsight we all should have gone) so I went to Chaumier in Acquigny, a pub/restaurant, for dinner with Silvestro.

Steak frites the way you dream it should be done
Salade verte

Knowing we were friends of Susan's, the proprietor set out the good bottle of Calvados after the bill was already settled, and Silvestro must have had 6 glasses. Not sure he'll be up early for class tomorrow...yikes, I didn't get home until 11:30!

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