The village of Beuvron-en-Auge, located on Normandy’s 40-mile Cider Route, is listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France and at first glance, it’s easy to see why. With its seventeenth-century half-timbered houses and pretty village square, Beuvron-en-Auge is charmingly picturesque and looks almost like a film set.
One autumnal Saturday night in October, I was staying at the nearby Cour du Grip – glamping, Norman style, spending the night in a calvados barrel (as you do). I was pleased to discover that I was just in time for the annual cider festival, due to take place the following morning. I popped into the village that evening to take a closer look, and indeed, in the village square I found a massive cart of apples awaiting their fate at the press!
I returned the following morning and found the village buzzing with activity. Those tonnes of apples I’d seen the previous evening were now being mushed and pressed into fresh juice by a couple of chaps wearing traditional Norman dress and a crowd gathered to watch the action.
Festival goers could sample the freshly pressed apple juice by the cup or buy a bottle or two to take home.
Lining the main street and square were producers who had come from across the region, each selling their own speciality. There was a stands selling patés and meat products, foie gras, tergoule – Norman-style rice pudding, local honey and pollen, caramelised apple cakes and a whole variety of different ciders.
Over a tannoy, an MC excitedly presented the day’s programme and introduced stall holders, interviewed organisers and entertained the crowd. And then just when I thought this fête couldn’t be any quainter, a small procession of musicians and a group of women and girls, all in traditional dress, paraded through the village, stopping in the village square and dancing in a circle until onlookers joined in.
So there you have it, if sampling good food and drink in one of the most beautiful villages in France, you really can have your apple cake and eat it in the Pays d’Auge! This year’s annual cider festival takes place in October and is just one of the many apple-themed festivals taking place this autumn in Normandy.
For more information on the Fête du Cidre in Beuvron-en-Auge, click here.
For more information on food and drink in Normandy, please visit the Normandy Tourist Board website.
Text and all photos © Maggie McNulty / Normandy Tourist Board