Salad with Normandy Cheeses, Apple, Walnuts & Honey Dressing

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One of the many lovely things about being in Normandy last week was the wonderful cheeses in the markets and cheese shops. I love cheese but especially these rich, creamy varieties like Camembert. However, my favourite in the region – and our favourite last year when in the area with my family – is Neufchatel.

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Neufchatel is one of the oldest cheeses in France, made since the 6th century. It looks similar to Camembert but is grainier and has a stronger flavour. It is fabulous and I carefully brought one back in a cool bag for Jonathan and Lyndsey too. I also found a wonderful soft goat’s cheese in the market in Deauville on my last day.

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There was such a wonderful display it was hard to choose but I went with this soft, nicey gooey one and it is really gorgeous. There was a man selling Alpine cheeses of the Gruyere type (obviously not local) and he was so chatty and gave me a taste one day. On the last day I couldn’t resist buying some – especially when he offered me a discount! He suggested buying the Beaufort cheese – and gave me a taste – and my bad French just about made out that he was telling me it had a deep, fruity, slightly nutty flavour and was excellent with white wine.

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I said I’d buy just a small piece and I’m so glad I did. I just wish I’d bought more! And then, of course, there was the Camembert.

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I do like Camembert and often buy it but to me it’s not a patch on the wonderful Neufchatel – which unfortunately is much harder to come by locally. They did have some in Waitrose for Valentine’s Day earlier this year – Neufchatel is usually shaped as a heart!

I decided to make a salad like the one I had in beautiful Cambremer last week – the only slight change was I added a few walnuts too and put some honey in my dressing. Honey is delicious with cheese. Other than that, I think I made a fair replica of the one I enjoyed at Au P’tit Normand (photo below).

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My cheeses are a bit different: I didn’t bring back Livarot, for instance, but the essence of the lovely Normandy cheeses is there, with the apples. It was simply put together. A bed of green salad leaves. Then slices of the four cheeses mentioned above. I thinly sliced some apple and placed some between the cheeses, then sprinkled over a few walnuts that I roughly broke into large pieces.Then I drizzled over a dressing of olive oil, cider (of course!) vinegar, salt and pepper, and a little runny honey. It (below) looks pretty similar doesn’t it?

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And, of course, the only thing to serve with it is gorgeous Cambremer cider!

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Well, it wasn’t quite the same as sitting at a sweet little restaurant in the pretty Calvados countryside, but it was nevertheless delicious and a lovely memory of the holiday.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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