Normandy: a terroir between land and sea
Very close to Paris, Normandy is a region rich in history, beautiful landscapes and known for its flavors and products from land and sea. A gastronomic heritage to be explored.
Normandy is certainly one of the most famous regions in France for its gastronomy.
Very close to Paris, the region is rich in history, beautiful landscapes and known for its flavors and products from land and sea. A gastronomic heritage to explore, full of products with AOP and AOC (Protected and Controlled Designation of Origin), seals that attest to the rules of production and origin of these foods.
In this article we want to take you on a short tour throughout the Norman flavors.
The gastronomy of this region immediately reminds us of the image of its cheeses, especially the world-famous Camembert. Two thirds of the cheeses in Normandy are made with cow’s milk and the influence of the sea air and the presence of marshy soils give its pastures an exceptional quality that allows the production of rich milk to produce cheeses, cream, and butters with amazing taste.
There are 4 iconic Normandy Appellation of Protected Origin (AOP) cheeses: Camembert, Livarot, Pont-L’Évêque and Neufchâtel. These soft mass cheeses are made with cow’s milk and have a smooth consistency and distinguished flavor. Livarot has been produced since 1690. It has a cylindrical shape, yellow straw cover and is tied with some long leaves of reeds from the region. The other 3 have a similar external appearance with white and flowery skin but differ in flavor and shape: cylindrical in the case of Camembert, Pont-L’Évêque is square and Neufchâtel, known for its nice heart shape that tells the story were offered by the girls of the Pays de Bray to English soldiers during the Hundred Years’ War.
Isigny’s Butter and Cream
Considered emblematic ambassadors of Normandy, butter, and crème de Isigny (cream) have been recognized by the AOP since 1986 and incorporate numerous recipes from the region. They are produced using traditional methods that guarantee their origin, tradition, and quality. It is from Isigny’s cream, fresh, tasty and ivory in color, that Isigny’s butter is made, this one with a golden color, smooth and soft texture, with light hazelnut flavor notes that melts in the mouth.
It’s hard to resist Isigny’s delicious caramels. Made with local raw products, including the famous butter already mentioned here, these sweets have been carefully prepared since the 1930s. Today, Isigny’s famous tender caramels are available in 70 varieties and even make up many dessert recipes across France.
For its extensive coastline Normandy offers a wide variety of excellent quality fish. In addition to the seafood, oysters and mussels that are very present in Norman cuisine, the Coquilles Saint-Jaques (in other words, the scallops) stand out as the region is the largest producer of this delicious and beautiful mollusk. From September to December, the coastal region celebrates this delicacy with several festivals dedicated to scallops. It is also a must to visit the oyster and shellfish farms, visit the fish markets and meet the fishermen.
Lamb “Pres Salés”
Raised in the bay of the iconic Mont-Saint-Michel, these herds of sheep represent the perfect union between land and sea. They feed on vegetation in the saline area that is periodically flooded by the tides, which gives their meat an unique flavor.
This lamb, born during the winter months, of specific and selected breeds, feeds on this pasture for at least 70 days to obtain the designation of origin of “Prés Salés du Mont-Saint-Michel”.
The lamb meat “pres salés” is delicately salted and can be tasted in several restaurants in the Bay of Saint Michel, in recipes that vary from one restaurant to another.
Normandy is the main producer of apples in France, and consequently, the fruit is present in many regional sweet recipes, as well as in its drinks. An indispensable component of the Norman table, in combinations with dishes and even as a digestive, the region of the Department of Calvados has a range of excellent ciders, liqueurs and calvados (distillates made from apple juice).
The Cider Route runs through 40 km of picturesque little roads that connect the villages of Beuvron-en-Auge, Cambremer, Bonnebosq and Beaufour-Druval, where around twenty cider producers are to be found. When traveling along the route, the distilleries and cider houses are identified by the sign “Cru de Cambremer”.
All over Normandy, fairs are also an unmissable attraction. Held in squares, streets, avenues and even on the edge of some coastal cities, they are an icon of French food culture and always offer high quality fresh products directly from their producers.
In 2020 the Marché de Dieppe was elected first in the competition of the most beautiful fairs in France. There, fish is the king of stalls and is the weekly meeting point for residents and visitors who shop or simply stroll and stop for a coffee while watching the fair come and go.
Practical information about the Dieppe Fresh Market:
Every Saturday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm in the following streets: Grande Rue, rue de la Barre, rue Saint-Jacques, rue de la Boucherie, place Nationale and place du Puits-Salé.
How do you feel about getting to know these places and delicacies up close? Normandy has much more culture and history to delight us and we can take you to this experience of unforgettable landscapes and flavors.