Many of the Food in Normandy Are AOC Designated:
Normandy is a food lover’s paradise. With 600 kilometres of coastline and a rich agricultural hinterland covered with fruit orchards, dairy farms and vegetable fields, Normandy is a source of quality meats, seafood, cheeses and fruit and vegetables. Not only is Normandy a food producing region, but many of its produce and food products are designated the Appellation d’Origine Controllé (AOC) label, a recognition of its quality.
Cider and Calvados
Normandy’s apple and pear orchards are the source of its famous cider and Calvados, an apple-based brandy. Cider has been a common drink in Normandy since the 12th century and as early as 1942, Calvados had already been designated AOC, in recognition of its quality. Cider and calvados are also common ingredients in Normandy recipes and the pears and apples also find their way into desserts such as tarte tatin.
Four distinct AOC designated cheeses are produced in Normandy – the creamy Normandy Camembert, strong-smelling Livarot, the square slabs of golden-coloured Pont l’Évèque and heart-shaped creamy Neufchâtel. Without a doubt, Normandy is dairy country – more than 50 million rounds of AOC Normandy Camembert are produced annually.
Normandy’s vast coastline is home to some of France’s most important fishing ports. Lobsters, scallops, herring, shrimps and oysters are plentiful here. If you like oysters, 21% of France’s oysters come from the Normandy coast. At low-tide it’s possible to collect cockles and clams along the beaches.
Seafood-lovers can look forward to “fruits de mer” on restaurant menus. This platter of local seafood can include oysters, mussels, clams, crabs, shrimps, lobster and even cockles, served cold or on a bed of crushed ice.
Some Normandy Specialties
Black Pudding, Montagne-au-Perche: Boudin noir is a speciality of the town of Mortagneau-Perche in the heart of the countryside of Orne. In making the claim that theirs is the original black pudding, Normandy is challenging the supremacy of the well-known variety from the north of England.
Canard à la rouennaise is a Rouen duck specialty that is described as an ‘acquired taste’. This roast duck dish is served in a rich sauce of duck liver and shallots. If you enjoy the taste of duck meat, but are squeamish, don’t ask about how this dish is prepared.
Agneau-de-pré-salé is lamb that have pastured on the salt marshes of the Mont-St-Michel Bay region. The unique flavour and tender meat from this lamb is a much sought-after by the French.
Sole Normande is a baked sole garnished with mussels, oysters, mushrooms and prawns.