The blog of cooking-ez.com

The return of the "Norman hole"


The return of the "Norman hole"
You maybe know the "trou normand", this old gastronomic custom typically French which consists in taking a (small) glass of calvados, generally between the last course and the dessert?
It's something that seems a bit anachronistic nowadays, having a glass of an alcohol of more than 60° in the middle of a meal, often with wines, to supposedly "ease digestion", ouch!
8,268 13 4.8
Grade this page:

Last modified on: December 18th 2021

Keywords for this post:MealCustomNormandyNormandCalvadosSorbet
The return of the "Norman hole"
If the original practice is rather debatable (personally, I'm almost sure that I won't see the dessert, or else in a fog :-), the principle on the other hand is not stupid: In a rather rich meal, like a holiday meal, take a little break before the dessert, and why not, by tasting something different.

It is a little bit towards that that the usage has been adapted for several decades, we always practice the Norman hole, but it is rather with something fresh, like a sorbet, often alcoholic, we do not completely remake.
The great classic, always in the Norman spirit, is a small dish with an apple sorbet, without or with a dash of calvados poured over it just before serving, or its "colonel" version with lemon and vodka sorbet.
The freshness of the sorbet, welcome at the end of the meal, is typical of what great restaurants call the pre-dessert.

sorbet colonel



In the end, it is a certain contrast that is sought, we have just eaten the main course, often quite substantial, perhaps washed down with strong wines, our mouths are a little full, a touch of lightness, of freshness, would be welcome.
Someone who is a bit strict might tell you to stop fussing, and simply drink a glass of fresh water, that it would be enough, and he would probably be right, but it is a holiday meal, we want to get out of the ordinary.

But instead of limiting yourself to the two initial options, alcohol alone (classic but outdated) or sorbet/ice (more modern but overused), it is also possible to think outside the box and go for something more daring, here are some ideas for, perhaps, your upcoming holiday meals.

A few rules that can't be ignored

- We stick to something small, a ramekin for example is too big, you need a very small glass, or a cup, or an espresso/ristretto cup.
- You don't serve anything with it, no little cookies or sweets, that would be too much.
- We serve the guests, and we sit with them right away, it is also a moment of exchange, the preparation of the dessert can wait a little.

And some suggestions

-It can be something very cold, a fruit sorbet with a little acidity for example: apple already mentioned, citrus fruits (clementine for example) or red fruits.
- Or something fresh like a small iced coffee, a fruit mousse, a very light cream, a red fruit chantilly, or even a small fresh fruit salad.
- More daring, it could be something hot: a sabayon, vanilla or with a hint of citrus, served in a tiny cup.
- Last hot/tidy idea: mulled apple juice (my favourite), or hot cider.

jus de pommes aux épices



In all of this, you should find something that will pass the "trou normand" test with flying colors with your guests, and who knows, maybe even surprise them a bit.

In summary:The "trou normand" in its principle, a refreshing break in a meal, is a good idea that can be declined in many ways, not necessarily alcoholic.

Back to top of page

Lasts posts
Should asparagus really be cooked in bunches?
Should asparagus really be cooked in bunches?
You'll probably read recipes here and there explaining how to cook asparagus "en botte", i.e. in a small package (the famous "botte"). Is this really the right way to cook asparagus?
249 May 22th 2024
Wipe meats and fish before cooking
Wipe meats and fish before cooking
When you want to cook meat or fish, there's a very simple yet very important step to take before you even start: It's to dry, or wipe, each side of the meat or fish, sometimes called "dabbing" or "sponging". But why? And how? Let me explain.
2,1875 April 14th 2024
Toss the salad
Toss the salad
When you've finished preparing a salad, green or otherwise, it's usually time to add the dressing and toss. It's often said to "toss the salad", which means to season and mix. Is it easy? Not so easy...
3,3715 March 8th 2024
Half milk, half cream
Half milk, half cream
In a multitude of recipes, savoury or sweet, milk is used as the main ingredient, or at least as the main liquid ingredient. Milk is used instead of water, for example, because milk contains a proportion of fat, which adds roundness and softness to the recipe. This mellowness is very pleasant on...
3,251 February 27th 2024
Cutting soft cheeses
Cutting soft cheeses
As you may have already noticed, when you have to use a "soft" cheese in a recipe - their exact name is "soft cheese" - such as Camembert, Munster or Mont d'or, it's not easy to make anything other than thick slices.
3,2255 February 20th 2024
Other pages you may also like
Different kinds of pastry and dough
Different kinds of pastry and dough
When cooking in general, and particularly in baking, we can make and use many different kinds of pastry and dough. All built on the same "base": flour - a powder to which we add fat, liquid or both to produce the dough which is then cooked. .
105K 14.0 November 6th 2012
What is the difference between bakery and patisserie?
What is the difference between bakery and patisserie?
This is a question that you may well have asked yourself and which I will attempt to answer. In France the two trades of "boulangerie" (bakery) and "pâtisserie" (patisserie and confectionery) have always been quite distinct, but where exactly do the boundaries lie? .
119K 14.1 February 7th 2017
Candied fruits: don't get ripped off
Candied fruits: don't get ripped off
Do you like candied fruit? You might like to nibble a handful or add it to a recipe, like a classic fruit cake or delicious Italian specialities like panettone or sicilian epiphany pie.
53K 24.2 June 21th 2017
The 3 essential knives
The 3 essential knives
You must have heard a chef or cook say: "There’s no good cooking without good ingredients". This is very true, of course, but for any amateur or beginner it is equipment that really counts to start with. What I mean is that you should not skimp on kitchen equipment, good utensils, a food...
20K5 May 30th 2018
The beautiful story of the croissants
The beautiful story of the croissants
As you may have already noticed, cooking, baking and pastry-making are full of stories or legends, usually very romantic, about this or that product or recipe. This is often the case for named recipes, for example tarte tatin, peach melba, paris-brest and many others, but it also applies to very...
13K5 October 10th 2018
Post your comment or question
Posted by:
I am not a leaving thing
Follow this page
If you are interested in this page, you can "follow" it, by entering your email address here. You will then receive a notification immediately each time the page is modified or a new comment is added. Please note that you will need to confirm this following.
I am not a leaving thing
Note: We'll never share your e-mail address with anyone else.
Alternatively: you can subscribe to the mailing list of cooling-ez.com , you will receive a e-mail for each new recipe published on the site.

Back to top of page