restaurant, markets, recipes, food blog

Having lived on the Normandy/Loire/Brittany border for nearly 5 years, we have discovered some wonderful restaurants and food markets. Also as we offer guests breakfast and dinner at La Martinière, guests often ask for a recipe from a meal they have enjoyed here. 

so I will add various recipes here.


The aim of this blog is to highlight restaurants and markets we have enjoyed, plus anything else food related which may be of interest.


JUNE 2024


Please scroll down the page to discover what we have discovered

Content to date:

Restaurant Le Moulin de Jean - Tartiflette Recipe - Laval Market - Nous marchons sur la tête - Escargot Forestierre Recipe - Normandy Cows - Boulangerie - Confused? - Cuisine de Bubba - Standing with Giants - Hotel La Cremaillere


Cuves - Normandy


As this blog is new I felt I should start with our favourite restaurant in the area. We have eaten here a number of times in winter and summer and were enjoying dinner here the evening that President Macron announced the Covid lock down was to start at mid-night.

The restaurant is a renovated water mill and has been tastefully renovated to incorporate the new with the old. In a delightful garden setting with a flowing stream, a kilometre outside the village of Cuves. Diners in summer have the choice to eat in or outside on the terrace, lunchtime or dinner.


On arrival you are offered an aperitif whilst viewing the menu and enjoying a selection of amuses-bouches. The restaurant is owned by Jean-Marie Lenfant, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Gaëtan Depince and with their staff offer very friendly and unpretentious dining.

The small à la carte menu offers you 3 or 4 courses with a variety of fish and meats which are all delicious and beautifully presented. The wine menu is not large, but offers wines from various regions of France and are priced conservatively.

Dinner Prices approx. 60.00€ per person excluding drinks.

Website link  Tel: 02 33 48 39 29 

Restaurant Le Moulin de Jean - La Lands - 50670 - Cuves





We offer guests to La Martinière an Arrival supper as having had a day travelling they may not wish to cook for themselves or eat out and just want to wind down and relax. One of our popular dishes we offer is a Tartiflette.  Tartiflette originates from the Savoie region of France and is a relatively new dish created in the 80's to promote Reblochon cheese. The dish is an updated version of La Pêla an 18th century dish from the Aravis in the Haute-Savoie. If you have ever visited the Alps, the smell of grilled cheese is found in most restaurants and probably comes from Tartiflette that many have on their menus.  



4/5x large potatoes - 1x large white onion - 1/2 cup of white wine - 400g smoked bacon lardons - Cup of cream - 100g Comté cheese -

1x Reblochon cheese - fresh sprigs of thyme.  


Peel and cube potatoes - either oven roast in oil or deep fry. Once browned remove the excess oil on kitchen paper and let cool.

Sweat down a chopped onion in white wine until onions are soft. 

Pan fry bacon lardons until crisp and remove the excess oil on kitchen paper.

In a ceramic baking dish - place a layer of the cubed potatoes, add a layer of the onions, bacon lardons and some grated Comté.

Add another layer of potatoes, onions, lardons and comté, repeating until baking dish is full. Usually 2/3 layers. 

Season with pepper between layers. I don't add salt as smoked bacon and cheese are already salty.

When the layered dish is full - slice Reblochon cheese into 5mm thick slices and place a layer on to the potatoes, onions and lardons.

Pour the cream into the gaps, so the cream soaks down into the potatoes, onions and lardons.  

Add a few springs of fresh thyme on to the Reblochon slices.

Bake in the oven at 200c for 30/40 minutes. The Reblochon cheese should have melted and have a crisp finish to its rind. 

The dish can be made the day before and refrigerated.


Usually served with a mixed salad and a platter of charcuterie.



Throughout the region there are daily markets, but our favorites ones are on Saturdays in Laval, Fougères and Rennes.

(I will post details of these markets later in the blog)


Laval is approximately 40 minutes south of La Martinière and is our nearest major town for out of town shopping. 

However each Saturday is a wonderful market in the town centre. One thing we love about market day is the Cave du Chateau wine shop on the corner in the market square. Join the locals before wandering around the market finding yourself an outdoor wine barrel and enjoy their "Wine of the day" for 10€ a bottle and a dish of free oysters or saucisson. The market has a great atmosphere and all that you would expect from the many stalls selling vegetables/fruit, saucisson, fish/seafood, flowers and there is an excellent cheese stall selling so many varieties of French cheeses. 


Opposite the Cave du Chateau is a great restaurant with indoor or outdoor seating. Le Palatium is a vibrant bar and restaurant with an extensive menu whether you want a snack or a full course lunch or dinner. Service is quick and very friendly, but you will need to make a reservation most days as it is very popular. 


The centre of Laval is under going some major renovation and construction with a new Food Gourmand mall due to open end of 2025. Suggested parking is alongside

the river opposite the cinema and then walking up the hill to the market.


Saturday Market Open 08.00 - 14.00 hours.  Smaller market on Tuesdays 

Cave du Chateau-Laval -     Tel: 0243 53 07 75

Le Palatium Restaurant -   Tel: 0243 53 22 22.  À la Carte or menus 29€and 34€ - drinks not included 



Driving around France you may well notice and wonder why village signs have been inverted. Accompanied with the slogan "Nous marchons sur la tête" translated to "we're walking on our heads". Reason for this is a protest organised by the Farming Union that represents young agricultural workers.

It's a signal to the authorities that the world has turned upside down and or that their policies make no sense. It all started a few months ago as farmers blocked cities with their tractors protesting about the cheap food imports into the EU. You will see these village signs inverted throughout rural France.   


We have all seen Escargots on French menus, but have you tried them ? 

Perhaps you would like to try and making them at home is so easy. 



Tin of Escargot - Usually about 80 in a tin, so far more than you require, but you can freeze remaining escargot in batches. 

Tinned escargot available in French supermarkets

Unsalted butter


Herbs - Parsley, chives, oregano, thyme. Your choice.

2/3 Cloves of garlic. Or as much as you like to add.

Bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to season

Fresh or toasted baguette 


You can buy Escargot dishes in brocantes here in France for about 2€ each or new ones for 10€. But you don't need them as any type of ramekin dish will do.


Slice and pan fry mushrooms in butter and set aside. Soften butter and mix with chopped herbs and garlic. Place some mushrooms in each of the 6 to 12 segments. Place an escargot in each. Then add a tea spoon of herb butter mix on each escargot. 

Place in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes or until escargot warmed through and butter is sizzling. Remove and add breadcrumbs over the whole dish. Place under grill until breadcrumbs are nicely browned and crisp. Serve immediately with fresh bread to dip into the garlic butter.

Tinned escargots are already cooked so you only need to heat them through


A bit of useless information, which I in fact found interesting. 

Throughout our region you will see cows grazing in the fields. There are a number of breeds, notably the white Charolais which produces excellent beef, but there is a specific breed of cow Normande. It is raised for its milk, which is high in fat and suitable for making butter and the famous Normandy cheeses. To spot a Normandy cow it is generally white with brown speckles, but its obvious feature is that it has brown hair around its eyes, as if wearing sunglasses. The cows graze throughout the day and night and are brought in to milk at sunrise and sunset each day. Each producing between 15-20 litres of milk per day. Perhaps the only time you will see a traffic jam here is when the cows cross the road to reach the farm for milking, be patient they are very keen to get milked and return to the fields. 


We all love a good Boulangerie, but have you stood in the queue confused at all the different breads available.  

To qualify as a Boulangerie, the bread must be made completely on-site. So bread from the Supermarket if brought in ready rolled and shaped, then baked is not classed as an artisan boulangerie but a dépôt du pain.  


There are so many different breads and having done some research, I have discovered some of the differences and choices available.

La Cuisine de Paris a source of information


When in the boulangerie are you uncertain to ask for - 'Un' Baguette ou 'Une' Baguette - Listening to NRJ Radio recently and a phone-in by a Parisian. He told the Presenter even as a Frenchmen, he never knew whether to say un or une baguette, but he said he had solved the problem. The Presenter asked how and he replied:

" I ask for Deux Baguette ".   This followed much laughter by the Presenter and his crew.  


Here is a list of the main breads you will see, but certain there are plenty more and depending on the region, they may have a variety of local names.   


Baguette Ordinaire and Baguette Tradition - by Le Décret Pain passed in 1993, the bread must be made on site by hand and only include four ingredients - salt, yeast, wheat flour and water, but some additives can be used in the Ordinaire, but never in the Tradition.  The baguette must weigh between 250-300 grams and be between 55-56 cm in length and a Tradition can never be frozen.

Generally an Ordinaire is the very long bread, where as a Tradition is shorter and usually with tapered ends. 


La Boule - A round crusty loaf in 2 sizes either large or small. You can also ask the baker to slice it for you. 


La Bâtard or locally called Le Pain - a larger baguette type loaf that comes in different sizes up to 1000 grams.


Le Pain Complet - a wholemeal loaf


Le Pain de Compagne - a large sourdough loaf


Le Pain de Mie - basically this is a bagged and sliced supermarket bread


Le Pain de Siegle - Rye bread


La Ficelle - a smaller version of the baguette ordinaire weighting only 100 grams


La Flute - a thicker larger version of a baquette ordinaire. I used to buy these in the Alps, but locally its not a term used. 


Torsade - small thin baquette with ingredients added - cheese, lardons, olives etc.


La Fougasse - the French equivalent to an Italian Focaccia made with olive oil and added savory ingredients


L'Epi - a baguette type bread shaped to look like an ear of wheat. Ideal for sharing as sections can be torn off


Croissants, Brioche ( Round and square ) Pain au Chocolat, Pain au Raison, Flavoured croissants with almonds etc.


Many Boulangeries are also Patisseries and offer a fantastic collection of tarts, flans, eclairs and home-made chocolates.

One of the great pleasures of France.  




Everyone should have a go to place when they can't be bothered to cook. For us its Bubbas in Gorron our local town. 

Located 'Centre Ville' by the Mairie, Bubbas is a small family run restaurant offering pizzas, kebabs and curries. They only open on  Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and monthly have a very popular Monday Curry night.  Run by a lovely couple, Sean and Jo are very welcoming whether you are eating in or collecting a take away. I have eaten all over Italy and can honestly say that Sean's hand-made thin crust pizzas are as good as you will get in Milan, Rome or Verona. On offer is a wide selection of tomato or creme fraîche based pizzas baked in the wood-fire oven. If you wish for a starter Sean makes excellent garlic/cheese pizza bread which you can have alone or with a selection of charcuterie.  If instead of a pizza, Chicken kebabs are also available, wrapped in a light airy bread, with plenty of salad and a choice of sauces from garlic and cheese to hot n spicy. Limited desserts are offered, but Jo makes great cheesecakes and I can highly recommend the lime or chocolate. 


La Cuisine de Bubba 

1 Place de la Maire, 53120, Gorron

Tel: 09 86 11 68 18

Facebook: @lacuisinedebubba

Open: Thursday/Friday/Saturday evenings 18h00 - 22h00. Eat in or Take Away

Prices: From 10€ - 20€ per person  Draft and International bottled beers, cider and wines available.


"STANDING WITH GIANTS" and Hotel Restaurant La Cremaillere

Following the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Normandy landings - 6th June 1944. Helen and I wanted to visit the silhouettes commemorating the 1475 men and women who died under British Command on D-Day. With our La Martinière guests self-catering we decided to have a night away with the aim to visit the British Normandy Memorial at dawn. 

Friends had recommended a hotel - 'La Cremaillere' which over looks Juno beach at Courseulles-sur-Mer and was only 5 minutes drive to the Normandy Memorial.

We had an excellent dinner in this very popular restaurant and a sea view room over looking the beach. Dinner was exceptional and with a crisp dry Muscadet bottle of wine, we enjoyed oysters, crab tartare, smoked salmon poke and I had a wonderful dish of veal sweetbreads and langoustines. Dessert was also memorable, a delicious fruit Mille Feuille. 

We got up at 5am and drove to Ver-sur-Mer arriving in time for sunrise at 05h56. Very moving to see the sun rise over the Memorial and the Silhouettes under clear skies and what made it so remarkable was that we were the only ones there.

The silhouettes will remain in place until the August and I highly recommend if you have the chance you must go and see them.


Hotel Restaurant - La Cremaillere

Avenue de la Combatantte, 14470 Courseulles-sur-Mer

Tel: 0231 37 46 73

Website :

Prices: Sea View Room mid-season 122.00€  Dinner for 2 - including aperitif and wine 175.00

Breakfast: 16.00€ per person