A two-day journey at Mont Saint-Michel
Friday June 1st, I receive a message from Annie and Céline while I was adding 64 asparagus on a pâte feuilletée (check the photo here) asking me if I am interested to participate in a culinary battle at Mont Saint-Michel on June 5 & 6. I started arranging my childcare and in 10 minutes, confirmed to Annie and Céline that I'm in for the mission.
In the afternoon, Gilles & Paloma from Mediaventilo agency contacted me to give me all the details. The mission is about a culinary battle between 9 bloggers in the kitchen of La Mère Poulard - Mont Saint Michel under several conditions: preparing a dessert in one hour composed of one or 2 biscuits of La Mère Poulard and choosing the ingredients from an imposed list.
Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are listed as a Natural and Cultural World Heritage site since 1972 and is on my travel destination list since many years. But who is La Mère Poulard? and what is her story?
Mont Saint-Michel, since the Middle Ages, welcomed pilgrims between visiting the Abbey and the protective ramparts. Annette Poulard, known under the name of la Mère Poulard, used to cook simple and delicious meals for the pilgrims, specially the giant omelette cooked in a wooden hearth. In 1888, Annette & her husband opened their first inn at Mont Saint-Michel which is known today by Restaurant La Mère Poulard. In 2018, the restaurant is celebrating its 130th anniversary with the launching of a book called "Les carnets de cuisine de la Mère Poulard au Mont Saint-Michel depuis 1888" Edition Chêne (Hachette Livres).
Now let me share with you the details about my journey at Mont Saint-Michel.
Tuesday, June 5, the journey started by taking the train from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes at 09:56 am. When arrived to Rennes, I met 4 of 9 bloggers who are Marine, Alice, Marine & Armelle. We took the bus together from Rennes to Mont Saint-Michel then the shuttle to the entry of Mont Saint-Michel. We were so thrilled to arrive around 1:30 pm and to meet finally Gilles, Paloma as well as the other bloggers Camille, Celine, Marine, Emilie and Samuel.
Four main activities were organized during the first day: the first one is visiting the bay of Mont Saint-Michel with our guide Romain. We walked around 2 hours all together without even realizing that. We were completely drawned by the beauty of this place. We had to experience the feeling of walking on moving sands, seeing fresh plants in between miles of sands, taking photos of us, Mont Saint-Michel from a wider angle, shooting some rugby styled boomerang by Gilles and running like footballers style by Armelle. We had so much fun and got the chance to discuss together and get to know more about each others.
Our second activity was visiting the Abbey with the adorable guide Gaëlle. She's a passionate beautiful lady who loves sharing Mont Saint-Michel history. I have to confess that I don't like history in general nor listening to guides but Gaëlle knew how to capture our attention with her smile and her way of talking. She showed us where La Mère Poulard used to welcome the pilgrims at first, in the actual La Poste building. Then we walked through all the 350 steps until arriving to Saint-Michel Cathedral, visiting the different floors and contemplating the breathtaking view from above. Nowadays, only 18 persons live in Mont Saint-Michel and most of them are nuns and priests. Plus Mont Saint-Michel is known to be a pilgrimage destination just like Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
After visiting the Abbey, our third activity was sharing the apéritif with Chef Alain Grespier, Chef of La Mère Poulard Restaurant. We had a debate about the French cuisine situation, enjoyed fresh champagne, La Mère Poulard apple cidre and a selection of savory La Mère Poulard biscuits. As mentioned above, La Mère Poulard restaurant is celebrating its 130th anniversary. For this occasion, the book was gifted and dedicated to each one of us by Eric Vennier, PDG of La Mère Poulard and actual Mayor of Mont Saint-Michel.
Then we had dinner all together at La Mère Poulard restaurant and finally taste the fluffiest omelette ever then we walked through the ramparts, breathing the fresh air, dancing (hmm Marine, is that you? 🌷) listening to music (thanks to Deezer/Sia & cheap thrills), and realizing how lucky I am to be there with all the genuine and beautiful people in that mezmerizing place.
And it was time to rest, around 1 am, before the culinary battle!
Wednesday 6 At 6 am, we had breakfast then arrange all the ingredients together in the kitchen of La Mère Poulard. They are mainly fruits (apricot, pear, apple, strawberry, orange), veggies (fennel, sweet potato (!!), tomatoes), some herbs (basil & mint), dairy products (milk, cream, eggs), flour, sugar, icing sugar, olive oil, a selection of La Mère Poulard biscuits, La Mère Poulard apricot & strawberry jam, pistachio, almond, nuts, pectine, agar-agar and gelatine.
The first group composed of Armelle, Marine, Céline & Samuel started their battle around 7h30 am. Marine, Alice and myself around 8:45 am and Marine, Camille & Emilie around 9:45 am. Chef Alain Grespier and Chef Gilles gave us help when needed. And I can't forget Céline & Emilie's precious help at the end of the battle as I was running out of time.
After the culinary battle, the Chefs tasted our desserts and gave to each of us a different price.
I will share with you all the details about the culinary battle itself and the dessert that I did in one hour in my future blogpost.
In the end, I want to thank Gilles and Paloma for the perfect organization of this journey; Romain and Gaëlle for all the interesting informations they shared with us about Mont Saint-Michel and La Mère Poulard.
Thank you to Chef Alain Grespier and chef Gilles for their professionalism and availability.
And last but not least, thank you to all the lovely bloggers. Your presence made this journey a very joyful one and an experience to remember all my life.
Without forgetting to thank my family and my beloved friends Christelle, Hasna, Leyla, Reem, Patrick, Marilyn, Maie and Nadia for their continuous support.
She who fell from the stars