French food notes - April 2019
In our series providing a sideways look at French food, we look at a foodie’s paradise with a cartoon connection
Churned out nice again: cream capital’s comic link
For foodies seeking a gastronomic escape, there is quiet seaside town (pop. around 3,600) in the baie des Veys in Calvados, Normandie that punches well above its weight.
Revered local products in Isigny-sur-Mer read like a shortlist for the national indulgence awards, and dairy farming is at the heart of them.
First, and perhaps most famously, there is its Appellation d’Origine Protégée (PDO) butter, which requires 20 litres of milk per kilo.
Top chefs love it for its supple, silky texture and, of course, the rich colour and flavour derived from local milk.
Next is Isigny the PDO crème fraîche, delicate yet rounded in flavour, whose lovely ivory colour comes from a long, slow maturation period (16-18 hours).
Isigny also produces many good cheeses (Isigny-Ste-Mère is the main cooperative; owned by the producers, it has been in business since 1932) as well as oysters, but the last of its most noted gourmand delights are its caramel sweets.
These chewy toffees – some with salted butter – also make the best of local lait.
However, Isigny has one lesser known claim to fame with greater international scope, a boast that trumps all of these culinary creations.
The clue is in the name: imagine someone from Isigny – they would, in French, be called ‘D’Isigny’. Ringing any bells? Disigny... it sounds like Disney, non?
The Mickey Mouse creator’s lineage has been traced – via Norton Disney in Lincolnshire (UK), Ireland, Canada and then the USA – back to the Normandy village during the William the Conqueror era.
In 2016 there was a Walt Disney garden inaugurated in Isigny.
Time to get cranky: moulin is far from run-of-the-mill
The early, manual forebear of the modern food blender came courtesy of Jean Mantelet’s 1932 invention.
The Moulinex founder created the Moulin-Légumes, through which vegetables could be passed for a smoother purée.
It is still used by parents of toddlers all over France but also works up the most splendid mashed potatoes for adults (Joël Robuchon always used a moulin).
This shiny A40106 model in steel (21cm wide) comes with two sieves and costs €16.99 from www.moulinex.fr
Get your fingers on the pulse with new veggie soup
With all things vegetable and bio never more en vogue in France, new foods with healthy intent are always coming to market.
Start-up company HARI&CO (a wordplay on haricot) has launched new ‘meal soups’ to be eaten cold or hot.
Additive-free, they come in three flavours: chickpea, pepper, and curry flavour; red bean and purple carrot; and green lentil, kale and ginger. €5- for 445ml from Franprix and Monoprix.
See their wider range of products at www.hari-co.com/en/