restaurant, markets, recipes, food blog

JULY 2024


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Restaurant La Fosse Arthour  -  Brioche and Butter Pudding  -  Normandy Cheeses. -  Cancale Oysters



Just north of La Martinière in Normandy, the Sonce River runs through a forest and sandstone gorge. According to Arthurian legend and told by the Normans is that this is the final resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. The legend says that both the King and Queen retired to the area and lived in their own separate caves, but Arthur was only allowed to visit Guinevere at sunset. Arthur though was said to be impatient to visit his Queen and fell to his death in the ravine. On hearing of the death of Arthur, Guinevere threw herself to her death in the same ravine. 


Visitors today can enjoy a walk in the forest, there are 2 marked routes. A 6 km circular walk following the river and the route climbs to the top of the sandstone cliffs. Or a short walk along the river then around the lake. Both routes are well marked and start at the bridge by the Auberge de la Fosse Arthour. If you are looking for more adventure, the cliffs are popular with rock climbers and have beginner to expert routes. There is a local climbing club in which you can arrange to go climbing with an instructor.


As you drive into the location, with its free parking you will see La Auberge de la Fosse Arthour.  A family run restaurant which is well known locally for its cuisine plus holding weddings, baptisms and dance nights etc. Offering inside or outside dining whether you are here for lunch or dinner, winter or summer. For hikers it also open for a pitstop for snacks and drinks. The outdoor terrace is our favourite place to eat as the River Sonce runs passed, under the Forest canopy and you can enjoy the sound of running water, watch the trout and listen to bird song in the trees. My only gripe and this doesn't alter the excellent food and very friendly service is that in winter, the lovely large fireplace isn't lit and instead a large flat screen TV shows a live feed of a log fire burning. Personally I just don't understand this. 


La Auberge de la Fosse Arthour

La Fosse Arthour, 50720 Saint-Georges-de-Rouelley

Tel: 09 71 72 26 95

Wednesday - Thursday 10h00 - 18h00

Friday - Saturday 10h00 - 23h00

Sunday 10h00 - 18h00

À la Carte + 3 menus 19.90€ / 36.00€ / 51.00€  Snacks, ice creams, crepes and drinks etc. 





In the UK I use to make Bread and Butter pudding, but here in France I find the French baguette too crispy and sharp in the mouth, so I experimented creating my own fusion of the English version and the French dish 'Pain Perdu' using brioche bread instead. I must admit I think it is a great success. Brioche is a light sweet bread found in Boulangeries throughout France.


Ingredients -

Brioche loaf - 2 days old, sliced and allowed to go dry/stale

4 eggs

250ml Full fat milk

300ml Cream

Unsalted butter

2 tbs Granulated sugar

2 tbs Calavados

Tsp of vanilla extract

Handful of raisons/currents or any dried fruit

2 pinches of cinnamon 

Zest from half an orange

Demerara sugar


2 days before making the dessert, slice a brioche loaf and leave out covered for a couple of days to dry out. 

Preparation of the pudding. Lightly butter both sides of the sliced brioche. In a ceramic baking dish grease the inside with butter.

Before layering the brioche slices in the dish give each slice a dribble of calvados. Layer the buttered brioche adding the raisons/currents around and on the brioche. Grate orange zest over the dish.

In a sauce pan heat the milk and cream until steaming, but it must not boil. Put to one side to slightly cool.

Whisk 3 eggs plus the yoke of a fourth egg and the granulated sugar in a mixing bowl then slowly add the warm milk/cream mix whilst continually stirring. Add the vanilla extract and mix into the custard. 

Pour the custard mix between the brioche slices until the dish is half full. Finally add a sprinkling of cinnamon and demerara sugar over the whole dish. Cover in tin foil and refrigerate for an hour or longer.

Pre-heat the oven to 180c and bake the pudding for 30/40 minutes. I leave the tin foil on whilst it bakes removing it for the final 10 minutes so the brioche crust doesn't burn. The custard should have puffed up and be semi-set and the top brioche slices toasted.  

Serve immediately with cream or ice cream.  






Charles de Gaulle famously said " How can anyone govern a country with 246 varieties of cheese? " His quote today would be an underestimation as it is believed France now has over 1000 different cheeses. 

Normandy is famous for its cheeses produced from the milk of cows that graze the green pastures. There are around 12 types of Normandy cheeses, however only 4 hold the coveted AOC quality label. 




CAMEMBERT - Normandy's most famous cheese is made from raw cows milk. The flavour is very intense and pungent. 

Legend says a farming lady, Marie Harel protected a priest in the late 16th century and in return he gave her the recipe for Camembert as we know it today. The artisan cheese is hand-made in molds, dry-salted and then matured between 30-35 days.


NEUFCHÂTEL - Is recognised as perhaps the oldest Norman cheese from the 6th century and was definitely recorded during what was known as the 100 years war between Britain and France 1337-1453. History records say, that young girls produced a heart shaped cheese and gave it to English soldiers to show their affection. It is similar to camembert, but saltier with an intense mushroom and nutty flavour. 


LIVEROT - Is a soft very pungent cheese made from cows milk. Matured for 21 days in humid, warm cellars having had the rind washed in annatto which gives it its intense smell. Liverot is easily recognised as it is circled with strips of reed, like found on a French Colonel's uniform, the cheese is often referred to as 'The Colonel". 


PONT-L'ÉVÊQUE - A soft cheese made from cow's milk in the the Pays d'Auge region of Northern Normandy. Square in shape and matured for a minimum of 14 days. The cheese is pale yellow on the inside and the washed rind is a white and orange in colour. A very creamy cheese, with an earthy flavour and is recommended served with a dessert and paired with a full bodied red wine. 


Other Normandy Cheeses:


Saint-André - A triple-crème cheese enhanced with the addition of heavy cream.

Brillat-Savarin - A triple-crème cheese with a sour flavour best paired with sparkling wines.

Bûchette Basilou - Made from raw goat's milk shaped into a log with an ash rind.

Coutances - Soft cheese made from cow's milk on the west coast of Normandy.  

Petit-Suisse - Despite its name it is not Swiss with its origins in Normandy since 1850. Usually eaten with honey, jams and sugar. 

Calva d'Auge - Camembert with the rind scraped off, then soaked in Calvados for 3/4 hours before dipping in breadcrumbs.

Bleu de Saint Jean - Aged 5 weeks to produce a hard, dense, blue grey marbled cheese. 

Belle-Mère - Made from pasteurised cow's milk, producing a semi-hard, dense and crumbly cheese. 




Oysters are not to everyone's liking, but if you do like them, then the oysters from the fishing village of Cancale are recognised as some of the best. Cancale, a fishing town is on the Emerald coast of North Brittany across the bay from Mont St. Michel. Known as Brittany's oyster capital due to the high quality plankton that feeds and aids the mollusks reproduction. 


Oysters were first harvested here by the Romans and became popular in the Royal Court of Louis XIV (the Sun King), who would have them sent to and served at Versailles. Cancale oysters, native to the region are the flat variety known in France as 'Belon de Cancale'.

From the towns sea front, La Houle, the oyster beds are visible at low tide and provide daily the restaurant's with their harvest to feed the many tourists who visit. A daily market is also open by the lighthouse where you can buy oysters to take home to shuck yourself or have them shucked by the stall holder for you to enjoy whilst sitting on the sea wall. I can shuck an oyster, but it takes me some time to open a dozen. It amazes me watching the stall holders shucking a dozen oysters in under a minute. But then they have probably opened millions of them.

Whilst enjoying them on the sea wall you will notice a mountain of oyster shells below and along its length, it is a tradition on finishing your oysters to toss the shells over the wall and on to the beach. 


The old myth that oysters should only be eaten when there is an 'R' in the month, is perhaps down to personal taste. Cancale oysters can be bought and eaten throughout the year. Personally I agree that the oysters in July and August are not at their best, as this is the period they prepare to spawn and emit a milk liquid. Some producers do take them off the market during this time. I prefer them from October to March when they are at their best. 


Produced in deep water the mollusk needs 3 to 4 years to mature and when harvested is offered in 5 sizes. 'No.0 to No.5" the smaller the number, the larger the oyster. On the market stalls you will see boxes clearly marked by size and price. Buy a dozen and have them opened and served with half a lemon. There is a small charge to open them, but prices are a quarter of what you will pay in one of restaurants.