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…

Mortagne, the birthplace of boudin

‘Mortagne-au-Perche’s butchers are happy people,’ François, a local butcher tells me. ‘They make money and they love what they do.’ This is in spite of a grueling schedule, rising at 5am and working until 7pm, six days a week. That said, I can think of worse places to work. Mortagne-au-Perche is situated in the heart…

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…

Perche Power

owever well you think you know Normandy, chances are you may be a little hazy about the Perche. Nestled in the south-east of the region, the Perche Regional Nature Park straddles the Normandy department of Orne in the west and Eure-et-Loir in the Centre-Val de Loire region. The Perche is rural Normandy at its very best….

Reasons to love a picnic

Aside from the Michelin stars and legendary classic cuisine, there’s another style of gastronomy the French do very well: the picnic, or rather, le pique-nique. The very word derives from the French words for ‘pick’ and ‘nique’ meaning small thing, so little wonder the French are good at lunch or indeed dinner out in the fresh…

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…

Top tables d’hôtes

As I take my first sip of pink champagne in the elegant salon of the Château de Saint-Paterne, I wonder if I could have got away with wearing slippers to dinner. Such is the friendly welcome at Charles-Henry and Ségolène De Valbray’s family castle near Alençon, you’re instantly made to feel at home. This is…

The joy of simple

It takes a dedicated foodie to map out their dining experiences before leaving for a holiday, researching restaurants through reviews and booking tables in advance. As rewarding as that is, I’ve had some great meals in Normandy in restaurants I’ve found by accident: when hunger strikes – especially when you’re in the company of small…

Nine foodie events for 2019

15-17 March: Foire au Boudin – Mortagne-au-Perche (Orne) Love it or loathe it, black pudding is the king of the party at Mortagne-au-Perche’s annual Foire au Boudin. Tucked away in the Perche Regional Natural Park, this quaint and picturesque town welcomes thousands of hungry visitors every spring for one of Normandy’s most famous food fests….

Poiré fermier at Ferme de l’Yonnière

The below blog post is an excerpt from brand new guide ‘The Cider Insider’ by Susanna Forbes, published by Quadrille, available in bookshops and on Amazon. In 1999 terrible storms whipped through the Domfrontais region, hauling out trees young and old, offering the poireculteurs of the region a reminder of the power of nature. Yet Jérôme Forget at…