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Aboard Crystal Serenity – Day 5

Safely docked in the picturesque French port town of Honfleur, we had prepared an activity filled day. First we picked up our rental car for tomorrow’s drive to the Normandy landing beaches and then we walked through Honfleur and it’s famous Saturday market with some of the most beautiful white asparagus I have ever seen.

The weather has somewhat stabilized with much less wind and only sporadic sprinkles which made our exploring much nicer.

In the evening, we joined the Crystal Gala event at the Palais Benedictine (monastery and distillery) in Fecamp, Normandy.This amazing venue is the home of the “elixir of life” – a brew with 24 herbs and spices distilled 4 times and aged in oak barrels before being bottled for consumption. Each batch takes 18 months to complete and it is exciting to see that Benedictine liquor is making a strong comeback with new and inventive mixologist creations such as the one aperitif we tasted. (Recipe below).

Beverage aside, the gala evening was themed “roaring 20s and many attendees dressed up for the occasion. The meal was an exquisite Norman feast of local delicacies from foie gras to cheeses of every shape and flavor. Mains consisted of either Atlantic cod or lamb shoulder, each perfectly cooked.

As it so happened it was my mother-in-law Julie’s birthday today and the event couldn’t have been more special. From lovely comedic relief with the 20s troup and violinist duo to the Broadway star Rachel Wood’s performance of “anything goes,” the night was truly special and the setting was out of this world (note the backdrop of the abbey room and the wooden roof construction).

Happy birthday Julie!

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