Cherbourg, France

2019 HAL World Cruise

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

 

There are many reasons to visit Cherbourg.  It has been an important naval base since the days of Napoleon.  It was one of the last stops for the ill-fated Titanic on her maiden voyage.  As a matter of fact, one of her lifeboats is on exhibit in La Cite de La Mer, the nautical museum adjacent to the cruise terminal.  The Normandy beaches, where the D-Day landings took place, are nearby.  Over 156,000 troops crossed the English Channel during Operation Overlord on June 6, 1944.  It was the largest seaborne invasion of the time.  Cherbourg was the first French city to be liberated in WWII and sustained major damage during the Battle of Cherbourg after D-Day in 1944.   Today, the first French nuclear submarine is on display in the museum.

But our goal for this visit was to find cheese!  A particular cheese:  Brillat-Savarin.  While living in Pennsylvania, we discovered this cheese at the Wegman’s supermarket chain.  We loved it!!!  Brought some home every week!!!  But we have not been able to find it since leaving Pennsylvania and we are determined to savor that pleasure once again!!!

We docked at the very same terminal used by theTitanic on her maiden voyage.
We docked at the very same terminal used by the Titanic on her maiden voyage.
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This is La Cite de La Mer (the nautical museum) adjacent to the Cherbourg Cruise Terminal.
The very first French nuclear submarine is on display here.
The very first French nuclear submarine is on display here.
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But we were on a gastronomical quest!!! We knew we wanted some mussels for lunch; and we knew we wanted to purchase some Brillat-Savarin cheese!!! Walking into the town square, we were on the lookout for a cheese shop and nice restaurant.
The restaurant was easy.  We found the Cafe du Port at the Marina.
The restaurant was easy. We found the Cafe du Port at the Marina.
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The photo of this very pleasant view was taken from our table in a cozy corner of the Cafe du Port.
We ordered the mussels along with pomme frites and our afternoon libations.
We ordered the mussels along with pomme frites and our afternoon libations.
And they were good!!!
And they were good!!!
After lunch, we walked the town.  This is City Hall.
After lunch, we walked the town. This is City Hall.
We were drawn to the statue of  Napoleon near the church.
We were drawn to the statue of Napoleon near the church.
Fort Roule is nearby and dates back to Napoleonic times.
Fort Roule is nearby and dates back to Napoleonic times.
But we are looking for cheese!    We passed the boucherie.
But we are looking for cheese! We passed the boucherie.
We passed the Boulangerie Patisserie.
We passed the Boulangerie Patisserie.
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And we found a cheese shop, but they were out of Brillat-Savarin. So, we crossed the foot-bridge over to the mall and checked out the local Carrefour market. They had our cheese!!!

 

Brillat-Savarin is a soft, white-crusted, cow’s milk, triple cream brie.  It was created by the Dubuc family in 1890 and was originally named “Delice des Gourmets” (“Gourmets’ Delight).  It was in the 1930s that cheese-maker Henri Androulet renamed it, as an homage, after Jean Antheime Brillat-Savarin, a well-known French gourmet and successful political figure.  Today, it is produced mostly in Burgundy.

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Brillat-Savarin is a soft, white-crusted cow’s milk, triple cream brie that is luscious, creamy and just faintly tart.
It goes well with crusty bread, baugettes, or even bread sticks!
It goes well with crusty bread, baguettes, or even bread sticks!
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I especially like the little star-shaped crackers with a garlicky flavor as an accompaniment. These little crackers are called Venettes and were purchased in France.
The Brillat-Savarin was the star of our cheese platter!!!
The Brillat-Savarin was the star of our cheese platter!!!

 

Recently, I learned the French cheese-making company, Rouzaire, is producing a cheese they named “Pierre Robert” based on Brillat-Savarin but aged for a much longer period of time.  The extra aging results in deeper, earthy flavors with a more intense, salty taste.  Pierre Robert is said to be even creamier than Brillat-Savarin.  We have a new quest!!!!!

But first, we will hunt for CHOCOLATE.  Our next port is Zeebrugge, Belgium.

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