17 | Sep | 14

Richard Johnson

Norman Conquest

Forget nouvelle cuisine – and the ecstasy that comes only from an ungarnished leek. In Normandy, they reckon haute cuisine is for Parisians. They prefer cuisine basse, and award medals for tripe. They are peasant folk who fight over the unprocessed stomach of an ox, and kill for a pig’s trotter. Sidney and Leila at Comptoir Du Cidre — our next overseas finalists — want to showcase Norman food at the British Street Food Awards. They especially want to show off their cider. The fermented mix of apple and pear juice is more reminiscent of beer than wine, with a wider range of flavours, including light and crisp tastes, rich tannic qualities thanks to the cask aging, and occasional funky notes for the fermentation geeks. Leila is the culinary brains of the pair, creating dishes like steak cider and cider-cured salmon for their tapas-style cider bar. Order the buvette, a French cut that’s been soaked in cider for 24 hours and then sous vided for 11 hours. “We finish it with onions that have been cooked for 30 hours until they are really gooey and caramelized, mixed with aioli to bring in more fat and pickled mustard seeds to cut through it all” says Leila. The French did well last year. Two years on the trot? Ooh la la.