Feature: Route du Cidre
Normandy’s signposted, 40km Route du Cidre, about 30km south of Deauville, wends its way through the Pays d’Auge, a rural area of orchards, pastures, hedgerows, half-timbered farmhouses and stud farms, through picturesque villages such as Cambremer and Beuvron-en-Auge. Signs reading ‘Cru de Cambremer’ indicate the way to 17 small-scale, traditional producteurs (producers) who are happy to show you their facilities and sell you their home-grown apple cider (about €3.50 a bottle), calvados (apple brandy) – affectionately known as calva – and pommeau (a mixture of apple juice and calvados).
Traditional Normandy cider takes about six months to make. Ripe apples are shaken off the trees or gathered from the ground between early October and early December. After being stored for two or three weeks, they are pressed, purified, slow-fermented, bottled and naturally carbonated, just like Champagne.
Normandy’s AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) cider is made with a blend of apple varieties and is known for being fruity, tangy and slightly bitter. You can enjoy it in crêperies and restaurants throughout Normandy.