After rolling through the beautiful Normandy countryside on the train from Paris we arrived in Bayeux, home to the Bayeux Tapestry embroidered in 1099 to tell the story of William the Conqueror’s English conquest. We chose Bayeaux as our destination for our first trip to Normandy due to its proximity to Omaha Beach (approximately 14 miles). The imposing Bayeux Cathedral provided a landmark to help us navigate within this lovely village with timber structures of approximately 13, 600 people while we stayed at the Villa Lara Hotel.
Upon our arrival, we discovered that Normandy is known for primarily two culinary delights: dairy and apple products.
The Normande is a breed of dairy cattle from the Normandy region and it is raised principally for its milk which is high in fat and ideal for making butter and cheese. Normandy is famous for its cheese making tradition. The most famous being Camembert, Pave d’Auge, Liverot, Pont l’Eveque, Neufchatel, Boursin, Brillat-Savarin, and Brin de Paille.
The perfect pairing with Normandy cheese is its famous calvados. Calvados is distilled from cider made from 200 name varieties of specially grown and selected apples. Apple orchards and brewers in Normandy are mentioned as far back as the 8th century by Charlemagne with the earliest known distillery being 1553. The apples are harvested and pressed into a juice that is fermented into dry cider and then distilled into eau de vie. After two years of aging in oak casks, it can be sold as calvados. The longer it is aged, the smoother the drink becomes.
After a delicious dinner of Normandy cuisine at Maison B Bayeux we ordered a tasting flight of Calvados. Surprised, the restaurant owner (our waiter) confirmed that our wish was to sample the Calvados. Energized by his US guest’s request, the owner proceeded to gather Calvados from his private stock. He lined up the four bottles, including two without labels, on the table and we proceeded to sample each of the distinctively unique apple liquors.
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.