Here’s our selection of must-try sweet treats from Normandy that showcase the region’s finest butter, cream, apples and caramel – bon appétit!
Normandy apple tart
The perfect balance of shortcrust pastry, apples, crème fraîche, almonds and a dash of Calvados apple brandy, this classic Normandy dessert is a firm favourite for locals and visitors alike. Available in bakeries across the region or, if you can’t get to Normandy right now, why not try baking it yourself at home? You won’t be disappointed!
Most accurately described as rice pudding flavoured with cinnamon, teurgoule is a firm favourite for Normans. The rice cooks over a long period in a stoneware dish, forming a caramelised ‘crust’ across the top (arguably the best bit) and, once cooked, can be eaten cold, warm or hot. The word ‘teurgoule’ is thought to derive from the expression ‘se tordre la goule’ [twisting the face’), because people would rush to eat it straight out of the oven and risk burning themselves. Well, that’s surely testament to its tastiness!
Confiture de lait
Confiture de lait (which literally translates to milk jam) is the ultimate treat for those with a sweet tooth! A milk reduction which is then mixed with sugar to form a smooth, creamy paste can be eaten with a spoon (in moderation!), on toast, on pancakes or added to dessert recipes. Also known as dolce de leche in Spanish, the origins of confiture de lait are unknown, but legend has it that back in the 19th century, one of Napoleon’s cooks forgot put the milk on the stove and discovered that a creamy caramel concoction was the end result!
It’s hard to resist Caramels d’Isigny! Made using Isigny PDO butter, famous across France (and dare we say available to buy in Waitrose if you’re in the UK), a lot of love goes into making these smooth creamy caramels, which have been made in the town of Isigny-sur-Mer, a town famed for its dairy products, since the 1930s. Today, Isigny caramels come in 70 varieties – there’s even a popcorn flavoured one!
Madeleines from Jeannette 1850
Jeannette 1850 madeleines have fought hard over the years to maintain their place in the madeleine market, and are we grateful they did! In 2015, employees at the madeleine factory, aided by investors, were able to save the company from going bust. Thank goodness they did, because a tonne of madeleines has been produced every day at the factory ever since! The range of cakes on offer has also expanded beyond chocolate and fruit flavours to more exotic ones like ginger and rose. Whatever you go for, it’s sure to go well with a cup of tea or coffee!
Biscuits from La Maison du Biscuit
La Maison du Biscuit proudly offers a vast variety of biscuits, financiers, tuiles, rochers, meringues and cookies, all baked on-site using locally sourced ingredients. In fact, more than 450 tonnes of biscuits are baked here each year! A particular bestseller is the financier; a soft, almond-based biscuit made with honey and apples. What’s more, all biscuits can be frozen, so if you can’t finish them all in one sitting, you can save them for another day! Though they’re so moreish we don’t think this is likely…
Sucre de Rouen
This Rouen specialty dates all the way back to 1592 and was originally invented by an apothecary as a remedy for melancholy and sore throats. A mixture of sugar, glucose syrup, compote, apple juice and water, three tonnes of sucre de Rouen are produced every year… by just 12 people!
Biscuits from the Biscuiterie de l’Abbaye
The Biscuiterie de l’Abbaye in southern Normandy has been making biscuits, shortbread and galettes since 1909. Favourites include the Trouvillais, made with lemon, berries and apples, the Carré normand, and the Petit normand, a classic madeleine Proust would be proud of. Ingredients come from local producers – such as wheat flour, Isigny PDO butter and cream, and caramel – plus a new Green Up range has just been launched, where biscuits are baked following 100% organic plant-based recipes, provide 100% energy and contain superfood ingredients like chia seeds, spirulina and matcha tea.
For more information on food and drink in Normandy, visit the Normandy Tourism website.