Festival du Lait, Percy-en-Normandie:
A pleasant surprise, while walking into our local bank “Credit Agricole“, we had won a free cooking class from the very prominent Chef Helie, of Restaurant de la Gare. We were very excited and then we though of the most perfect idea! Madison, our 9 year old, has told us that she would like to go to culinary school in Paris and own a restaurant and a farm, so that she could create delicious food with her fresh produce. We decided to give Madison the cooking lesson. It was to be held at the “Festival du Lait” or the “Festival of Milk”. Since Percy is very agricultural, there are so many farms and beautiful fields just ripe for growing, it is a festival that showcases all of the cheeses, milk, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate, wine (its not a milk product but I was pleasantly surprised to see it!), cider (Normandy is known for its cider) and beer carts too. The producers all considered themselves artisans in their craft and their products truly were unbelievably delicious. Outside the tents were the biggest tractors and cows, goats, sheep, donkeys and ducks. I think they took some liberties with the animals, not all were milk producing.
The culinary class took place under a very high tech and large white tent. It was equipped with a stove, freezer, refrigerator and all the sound and lighting equipment needed. At first, Madison was a little intimidated, but the kindness of the Chef and his staff soon made her warm up to the idea of working some culinary magic.
They ended up preparing a two-course meal, where the main course was fileted Dover Sole resting a bed of green beans and tomatoes with a buttery sauce infused with citrus flavors. Dessert consisted of a crème based pudding with local fresh berries and citrus fruit as topping. The Chef’s reward, at the end, was to eat what they created. Bill, Kale and I snuck into the Chef’s work space to eat some of the delicious food. It’s only fair, since we sat and watched for three hours.
by- Tara Magaw