Touring Normandy France and Drinking Cidre Part I

July 23, 2012

Earlier this month, I went to Normandy, France. We actually started in Belgium so that my husband Burtle could have some Belgian beer, and then we ended up in Normandy so that I could have the cider, or cidre, as they spell it in French. I’ll talk about my experience over the next six weeks.

We started off in Bayeux, and we got there during a medieval festival that occurs every first full weekend in July. This was a good thing, as there were a few cider and calvados vendors there giving out samples.

One of the first things we noticed was how much cheaper a 750 mL champagne bottle of cider was. Most of the small farm craft ciders were being sold for about €3-4 and rarely more than that. While we were there, €1 = $1.30, so a €4 bottle cost us $5.20. That is a good deal compared to the United States, and they are pretty darn tasty, too. Unfortunately, not knowing this price point, the first place we came to that sold cider was a shop that specialized in cider, calvados, and caramels, and we ended up buying a €7 bottle after having a sample. Rip off. The grocery stores also sell cider for the lower price, so never buy a bottle for more than €5 in Normandy, if that.

Perry I bought at the festival.

We stayed at a little English speaking bed and breakfast there called Logis les Remparts, where they also had a shop and were aging calvados. They said they had a family orchard, but I got the feeling that other family members ran the orchard, made the cider, and then distilled the calvados. I say this because running the B&B and shop, they probably didn’t have much time to operate the farm. Anyway, calvados was brought to them in Bayeux, where they would age it in barrels in their cellar and then probably bottle. They mostly focused on calvados, but they did have pommeau and the Normandy aperitif and did sell cider, jams, and caramels. I was told the pommeau was 1/3 calvados to 2/3 apple juice, which they also sold apple juice. All of the pommeau I had there was much better than any I had here, but I think we are still also new to making apple brandy (calvados can only be technically made in Normandy).  The shop is actually where they served breakfast with the jam for the bed and breakfast. It technically was a “bar” and you could get glasses of cider and shots of calvados, but it closed at 1800 (6pm), and I never saw anyone just hanging out like you would expect with a bar. However, this became an excellent way for us to get started in Normandy.

Next week: The French Countryside

3 Responses to “Touring Normandy France and Drinking Cidre Part I”

  1. […] staying in Bayeux, France, we caught one of the many quick trains to Caen to pick up a rental car and started driving out to […]

  2. brianmcgui Says:

    Fantastic Blog.. wonder if this might be of some interest here are some excellent Paisley Photographs of the Paisley Abbey Medieval Festival which took place on September 15th 2012. 

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