Normandy : a Foodie’s Delight
What do you get when you combine miles of breathtaking coastline, fascinating historical landmarks, lush farmland and lively market towns? The Normandy region of France boasts all of these features and so much more. But aside from the picturesque landscapes, friendly locals and cultural discovery, Normandy is also home to some gastronomical delights. Whether you’re an experienced restaurateur or just a foodie that loves to experience the different tastes of the world, the cuisine in Normandy won’t disappoint. If a visit to this lovely region is in your future, here are a few foods you won’t want to miss !
Delectably rich and sinfully delicious, the cheeses of Normandy rank among the best in the world. While there are a number of kinds to choose from, there are three in particular that truly stand out as “must-tries”. Livarot, the oldest cheese in Normandy, is a washed rind cheese made from cow’s milk that is soft, rich and is known for its earthy “barnyard” aroma. Another soft cheese, Camembert, has been enjoyed throughout the region since the 18th century and features a creamy texture that is often compared to brie. Finally, Brillat-Savarin, a triple cream brie cheese, features a luxuriously creamy texture and a taste that is perfectly pared with a glass of fine champagne. These three cheeses provide an excellent sampling of one of the area’s most popular products.
Another well-known food product of the Normandy region is the apple, or more particularly, the cider that is made from locally grown Normandy apples. Traditional apple cider is delightfully fresh and has helped put the region on the map, but it’s the alcoholic equivalent that has kept it there. Calvados is an apple brandy that has won many awards over the decades. In fact, in 1942 it was awarded the Appellation d’Origine Controlle, or AOC label which is a sign of the beverage’s high quality. Pommea is another drink that is a bit of a combination of the two – 2/3 apple juice and 1/3 Calvados. For those that are interested, there are a number of tastings and tours of the many distilleries found throughout the region.
One of the most interesting things about Normandy is that each area within the region features its own specialties or favorite dishes. In lower Normandy, pork is among the popular foods, particularly what’s known as andouille de Vire. This traditional chitterling sausage is based on the innards of the pig and is seasoned naturally with sea salt. It has been produced in the area for hundreds of years and provides a unique rustic and simple example of traditional French food. Andouille de Vire is generally enjoyed cold, sliced wafer-thin alongside farmhouse bread, or warm atop a salad or with cooked apples. It’s a favorite among the locals and tourists alike and is considered a gourmet treat.