The Fête du Cidre à l’Ancienne [Traditional Cider Festival] takes place every year on the second weekend of November in Normandy’s cider country, the Pays d’Auge. The festival’s picturesque backdrop is the Ecomusée de la Pomme au Calvados museum in the village of Le Sap, which was a cider farm until 1937. The museum contains an exhibit on the traditional cider production methods of yesteryear, a large copper still and an antique wooden press dating back to the eighteenth century.
Over the two days of the festival, you can watch cider being made the old-fashioned way, namely with the help of a Percheron workhorse to power the cider mill, and using good old manpower to load the press.
In addition to ample opportunities to sample tasty cider (traditionally produced, of course), you can peruse the many stalls where local producers and craftsmen are selling their wares, and try out some Normandy cheese (or snails!)
Anyone feeling brave can even join in the dancing with the Mayor of Le Sap and local villagers, who are all dressed in traditional Norman attire. Watch the video below to see how the lovely Elise from the Portsmouth News got on at last year’s festivities!
After exploring all that there is to see, you can then sit down at long tables, and enjoy some tasty local grub, accompanied by a refreshing glass of (you guessed it) Normandy cider.
The Fête du Cidre à l’Ancienne takes place this weekend, so if you’re in the Pays d’Auge, make sure you don’t miss it!
For further information on food and drink in the region, visit the Normandy Tourist Board website.
All photos and text © Fran Lambert / Normandy Tourist Board