Touring Normandy France and Drinking Cidre Part II
July 30, 2012
After 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 the Normandy D-Day Beaches. Being that it was cidre country and there were lots of signs for tasting rooms, we couldn’t help but stop and try some.
I am unsure if the places we were going to actually had the apples there, or if they just took stock from other family members to sell. Rarely did I actually see an orchard, and one time I actually asked at an estate, and they waved vaguely at it. The orchards, it seemed, were hidden and not exactly shown.
Each place has its own tasting room, though they typically only gave one or two small tastes. We never exactly figured out the procedure for this – what they had to taste, how much, and if there was a tasting fee (apparently never). This last issue started us buying cider out of guilt, even though it was only a small taste. This ended up being one of the reasons we eased up on stopping at tasting rooms, as there was only so much cider we could consume before coming home. This coastal region was also not the area we had really planned on having cider at, but instead more inland, so that also played into things.
We did have one unfortunate experience. See, most everything in Normandy is open from 9am to noon, closed until 2pm, and then reopens until 5pm or 6pm. We stumbled across a place around 2:15, but it looked like the family was eating. One woman came over to us, but she did not welcome us over to the bar behind her, but instead stood really close like they wanted us to leave. It was odd, and that also played into our not going to every place.
Not every place really had cider, either. Some made cider for the sake of making calvados, and they were really selling calvados and not cider. Others focused on cider and then made calvados. It was hard to tell which one we would encounter.
The last factor that started playing into us easing up was that it was a little overwhelming. It is like heading over to Napa Valley – how does one choose which wineries to visit when there so many and you have never heard of them?
Actually, a minor other factor was that we were also running out of time and needed to get down to Mont Saint Michel, which was a good two hour drive yet for us.
Next week: La Route du Cidre