Monday, June 20, 2011

The French connection........lovely day on the bay

No, that's not the coast of France!  It's the fishing port of Brixham across Tor Bay.  This town was the birthplace of my father so has always been a must visit each time I go home. 

Brixham is a quaint, bustling port at the southern end of the bay with a proud and fascinating maritime heritage. Life takes place mostly along the harbor and waterfront, there's always something of interest happening.  Brixham is one of the UK's busiest fishing ports and the premier provider of fresh seafood to some of the country's leading chefs and restaurants.  

On the Sunday afternoon when we visited in May, the unexpected find was a French market set up under the old fish market canopy - seen on the left in the above pic. 

These artisan bakers, cheese makers, olive growers etc., take the ferry over to England on Thursday nights, set up their stalls in three venues, one each day, and sell their excellent foods before sailing back to Normandy on Sunday night.

Oh my goodness, did we hit it right in Brixham that Sunday!

In case you don't know, Bob and I are what one might call gregarious folk.  We love to meet people, talk (perhaps too much at times!) and learn about their lives.    

Food can always be an ice breaker, everyone is interested in eating!  These beautiful loaves caught my eye first - I'm such a sucker for good bread............  

..............and before we could say "merci beaucoup" our new friend Eric, had not only sold us two loaves, walnut and fig, he had gifted Bob and I with three of the most fabulous fresh goat cheeses ever!

The rest of the story - you just know there has to be more - is we now have an invitation to Eric's goat farm, Cheverie du Mesnil in Normandy, where not only will he and his wife Martine soon have a lovely B&B room ready in their farmhouse, I will also be offered lessons on making goat cheese and getting to meet, and frolic with, the 75 sweet goats in their herd!

Above, Eric on the left, and his assistant Fabien, weighing the wedge of nutty flavored Comte cheese I purchased.  How I love Frenchmen who know good food!

Eric's goat cheeses were definitely the best ever.  Will we get to visit his farm?  Hopefully yes, perhaps next year.  Eric speaks excellent English so we know he was serious.  He gave us his dog-eared Normandy map with directions to his village, his address and phone numbers.  We hugged as we said "au revoir". I love goats, cheese, French grey paint, France, Frenchmen................and have been waiting to visit the Normandy/Brittany area for a long time.  This was all so much fun.

Next stop along the harbor is always special also.  CLAWS, the tiny but fabulous home of Jenny's famous fresh crab sandwiches is where we stop for our lunch or an afternoon snack.  The tables are under the blue and white umbrellas, close to the waterside action.

Jenny left, with her helpers, Jo and Amy. Love their seaside 'uniforms' and, as always, the charming blue and white china - no flimsy paper plates for these fabulous, fresh from the bay, crab sandwiches, served with a good cuppa too!

More views from around Brixham's bustling harbor.............

...............where 'messing about in boats' continues from early morning until dusk.............

............whether paddling a tiny rowboat, or maneuvering a large fishing boat into port.

All this commotion is watched over by hundreds of seagulls.

The last ferry of the day arrived to take us back across the bay to Torquay.........

............home sweet home comes into full of fancy condos and pricey yachts.  Must admit I preferred it during my childhood days, still 'Victorian' and elegant.

Below are the spoils of our visit to the French market that afternoon.......thank you Eric.

Later I'll share who came to dinner to enjoy these delicious cheeses and bread, with of course a nice red wine...........the almost French man in my family!


  1. You have the most marvelous adventures Mary! I loved Normandy when we were there last spring....

    Gorgeous photos.

  2. Brixham is a lovely port town! Beautiful photos of the buildings and boats. The crab sandwiches look so yummy!

  3. These goat cheeses look so yummy – I was raised on goat cheese, really, and I miss all the varieties that are in France. I did not know the town of Brixham – it looks like a very picturesque sea town – to be placed on my list to visit.
    Thanks for coming to my blog and writing such nice comments.

  4. What a delightful place to spend the day. I would love it!!!

  5. You certainly know how to enjoy yourselves, Mary!

  6. I always enjoy your photos of Brixham and it is still on my list of places to visit in the UK.
    Your cheesemaker lives less than 30 minutes away from our home, guess we'll definitely be seeing you next year!!
    C'est merveilleux!

  7. Umm, wasn't hungry until I saw this Mary. We had a late lunch but I think I could squeeze in a petit morceau with my glass of red.

  8. What a treat to get an invitation like that. I would jump at a chance to visit and learn all about making goat cheese. They look beautiful and who could resist bread like that. Love the pictures, especially the cluster of row boats.

  9. The bread and cheese would be enough to have me flying straight over to that little farm B&B! What a delightful day you must have had. Of course many people could have gone past that booth on that day but it took someone who really likes people to make a connection with the young men - I loved that story!

  10. I'm sure you will love that part of France, it's very much alike to the southern part of England. If you want to see some of my pics taken there go here
    and here and here

  11. Gorgeous images Mary! Absolutely wonderful.

    Thanks so much for your note at the Back Porch. We are having fairly cool weather right now. Still having storms though. Wondering what July will be like!

  12. I am enjoying your trip just as if I am there.
    Your pictures are wonderful as usual and who doesn't like a Frenchman with their accents - food or no food.



  13. What a marvelous day you two had! And you certainly made a new friend....France next year sounds dreamy.

  14. I'd forgotten what a lovely place Brixham is - we used to go on a day trip there when we went to Torquay for our holidays in the 1950s but I've never been there since. It looks well worth another visit.

  15. What a wonderful place to visit! All the beautiful seaside colors, and to be fortunate enough to be there on French market day! Wow!
    Take Care,


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