Normandy cows fed on lush pastures produce the rich dairy produce - particularly cheeses - for which this region is rightly famous. It produces four distinct AOC cheeses – camembert, livarot, Neufchatel and pont l’eveque. Look out for cheese producing farms that welcome visitors and Graindorge Dairy where visitors can view the cheese-marking areas.
Apple orchards supply fruit for desserts, like apple fritters and crepes, and to make the cider drunk here instead of wine, or distilled into Calvados (apple brandy). Calvados is sometimes offered as a digestif - ‘le trou Normand’ - between courses to counteract rich sauces. Normandy is the only French region that produces perry – made in the same way as cider but using pears rather than apples
Find wonderful seafood sometimes served with ‘sauce normande’ (cream, mussels, shrimps and mushrooms). More than 20% of France’s oysters come from Normandy and those produced on the Cotentin coast are known as ‘pleine mer’ oysters due to their distinctive Atlantic flavour. Oysters from St Vaast la Hougue are particularly renowned for their nutty taste and, if you head to Gouville-sur-Mer, you can take a tour of the oyster beds by horse and cart.
Also popular is the tender lamb raised on the Mont St Michel Bay salt marshes and the local favourite, ‘tripes a la mode de Caen’, beef tripe with vegetables and cider.
Normandy really knows how to celebrate its food with festivals throughout the year. Head to Trouville in July for the mackerel festival, to Granville in September for the town’s seafood festival and to Vimoutiers in October for the annual apple festival.