Normandy France: Home in a 13th Century Palace
There’s nothing quite like eating at home. Especially if your home is an 13th century mini-Norman palace in Normandy, France. It was there at Le Logis d’Equillly that I found myself last week having lunch.
Bought back in 2005 by Christine and Marc Huline, the giant house has been painstakingly restored ever since. Imagine living in a home that dates back to the 13th century nearly 800 years old, it made my jaw drop just thinking about it as Christine the proprietaire (owner) showed us around the small inn she runs.
Equilly was built as a house for a nobleman with a mill pond, a chapel and a farm from during the middle ages by Robert the Count of Mortain in 1275. Christine & Marc Huline have spent the last nine years restoring the dilapidated manor house which was abandoned for some years before they purchased it.
I can’t imagine the hours that it must have taken and in general they’ve done a lovely job of it, I was particularly enamored with the bedroom above in the oldest part of the house with lace coverlets on the beds and an exquisitely carved fireplace.
It is an ideal spot to stay for anyone wishing to visit Mont St Michel and also for English traveling to and from Cherbourg. Its a lovely weekend escape from Paris as well.
We sat down to lunch made by the owners and their daughter in the kitchen, family style. This is offered to you at an extra price. Rates for the night run about 140 euros for two plus breakfast.
Lunch began with a bright orange pumpkin soup. I find squash, carrot and pumpkin soups all to be a little too thick and cloying. This was was superb, no cream, not overly rich and just the right about of sweetness but not too much. The father who we didn’t meet had made it we were told.
Then a Coquille St. Jacques followed as a little appetizer or amuse-bouche – with a boiled shrimp on top. Delish! This is one of my favorite French classics and one that I’ve actually made from the Julia Child cookbook, its actually not as difficult to do as it looks.
Madame opened a nice simple red from the Loire Valley which sits below this region. And later on a cider from a local farm was opened as well. The main came out family style, a roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans. There were sprinklings of onions in there for flavor and a lovely au jus sauce to serve yourself on the side. The light red from the Loire went perfectly with this dish.
Then as if wanting this show to never end, Madame’s daughter who was our co-hostess served a big plate of local cheeses and a bitter lettuce salad with walnuts, the ultimate combination for fall on a crisp day. On the board were Pont L’Évêque, Camembert, a local goat cheese, a local hard cheese similar to a comte and a Roquefort from the south west of France. I was literally in heaven.
Finally to top it all off (as I was saying internal thanks to whatever led me wear leggings today) a homemade apple tart was presented and served with flaming Calvados! Remember this is just lunch and we had a full day scheduled after as well as another meal. A more Normandy focused, farm fresh, regional and seasonal meal could not have been produced.
But this is not the trend here, its old hat from way back in the day when local was all you could get. These two cherub smiling ladies each more interested in the history than the other and this lunch stood out as extremely memorable on our 5-day trip covering Normandy with the French Tourism bureau. This was our favorite meal, maybe not the most culinary elite but all three of us agreed it was the best. There is nothing quite like dining at home, is there?
See our entire #SpiritualFrance trip in pictures here.