Made by the monks

Normandy is home not only to delicious cider and calvados, but also to the world-renowned Bénédictine liqueur. The origins and preparation of this tipple are shrouded in mystery, so I headed over to the Palais Bénédictine in Fécamp, Normandy, to see if I could shed any light on the matter. In spite of its name…

A journalist jaunt in cider country

On 12-13 February 2020, five journalists hailing from the US, the UK and Germany were invited by Normandie Attractivité, the regional marketing agency, to discover for themselves one of Normandy’s most famous exports, cider. Over two days, they were welcomed by some of the best Norman producers of cider, pommeau and calvados before attending CidrExpo…

Care for some pear this NYE?

A picturesque medieval walled town overlooking the Varenne river, Domfront grew up around the strategically situated stronghold Domfront Castle in the sixth century. It was here that the dispossessed Henry Beauclerc, youngest son of William the Conqueror, rallied support among local lords and was eventually crowned Henry I of England in 1100 and Duke of…

Festive fare around the ports

Sail from England into any of Normandy’s four cross-Channel ports and you won’t have to venture far into town to stock up on a wealth of French festive fare for your home celebrations. The main Christmas meal in France is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve – le Réveillon de Noël – often starting with foie gras…

All things apple

The village of Beuvron-en-Auge, located on Normandy’s 40-mile cider route, is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in 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 last…

Savour the flavours around the Mont-Saint-Michel

The most visited French monument outside Paris, the Mont-Saint-Michel enchants travellers from across the world with its narrow winding streets, panoramic viewpoints and imposing hilltop abbey. Surrounded by water at high tide, its unmistakable outline is visible from miles away, a landmark for pilgrims since medieval times. But this glorious corner of Normandy is also…

Four new drinks to try right now in Normandy

Not your ordinary bottle of wine Well, this is certainly something new! What if the next big thing was…kiwi wine! Two things you never would have thought to combine, together at last. All this thanks to Gustave Lecadieu. In the small village of Belmesnil, halfway between Dieppe and Rouen, the young Frenchman started fermenting the…

Five Normandy products that have nothing to do with apples

Normandy is justifiably famous for its apples – whether you sip a heady calvados, swig a glass of formidable cider or devour a sweet apple tart, there are myriad ways to enjoy them – but beyond the orchards, the region has a variety of other products to try. Bénédictine The jaw-dropping Bénédictine Palace in Fécamp…

Cyril Zangs cider: naturally does it

The below blog post is an excerpt from ‘The Cider Insider’ guide by Susanna Forbes, published by Quadrille, available in bookshops and on Amazon. It’s an Aladdin’s cave, Cyril Zangs’ cellar. Bottle cages are stacked high, plus what seems like oceans of A-frames, there for the twisting-and-tilting game known as riddling, to clear bottle-conditioned and bottle-fermented ciders…