Having arrived in Neufchâtel-en-Bray a day earlier than we thought, we decided to treat ourselves to a seafood lunch in Dieppe which lies a mere 20 miles to the north. Dieppe is one of the channel ferry ports, though not one we’ve ever used, and one of the more attractive ones, at that. Other than ferry traffic, the port unloads a whole lot of bananas and shellfish (it says here). OK, we’ve driven nearby it frequently enough, now let’s give it a try.
I am no historian but I am quite interested in the Second World War. Dieppe is best remembered, by me anyway, because of the completely disastrous raid by allied forces in 1942. With support from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, 6000+ infantry, predominantly Canadian, made it ashore. After some five hours, having achieve none of the objectives, those which were not killed, wounded or captured, less than 50% of the poor saps, were forced to withdraw. PR would have it that this action served as practice for D-Day. It certainly sounds as though we needed it! The harbour must have looked utterly depressing in 1942. Happily, today it looks much more appealing, especially in Fuji 617 format.
On Saturday, Dieppe has its reportedly wonderful street market so we checked that out before lunch. We’d have to agree, the market was excellent. Several years ago, we discovered a wonderful market in Dives-sur-mer, also in Normandy. I’m beginning to spot a pattern. I’ve spared you the market pictures so far on this trip but I can resist no longer. Below are a few stalls – mostly those that interest us more, rotisseried chickens, cheese and fresh fish – to give you a colourful flavour of the French love for food. (The occasional movement blur is caused by our not knowing how to drive our toy compact camera properly.)
French markets are usually colourful affairs but we stumbled into a shop on one of the market streets that was out to give this one some competition. In my experience, this bejewelled shop is unique. All the shop’s internal walls were lined from floor to ceiling with brightly coloured cans. The cans contained nothing but fish, various species preserved in various flavourings and sauces. There were some very attractively presented gift boxes and hampers of canned fish, too. Totally unexpected and quite amazing; I’ve never seen the like before.
All that gives one an appetite and we finally went in search of a restaurant with a good seafood menu. I always have a hankering for a plateau de fruit de mer [seafood platter] and Francine was hungry for scallops. We found a table at one of the more popular eateries and had clearly lucked out; 15 minutes later they were turning people away. Apart from our main choices, one of its attractions was that it had a €22.90 menu offering a starter that intrigued us both, foie de lotte [monkfish liver], noted as the house speciality. It was excellent and the highlight of the meal for us both. A bottle of Muscadet sur lie was, of course, needed to wash the feast down.
We don’t often eat in restaurants but when we do, we like it to be because we’re eating something we either can’t obtain or can’t prepare at home. Monkfish liver and spanking fresh seafood fulfilled both requirements. For once, paying the bill was a pleasure. 🙂