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  • Writer's pictureClaire

The culinary delights of Pays d'Auge

Updated: 13 hours ago

I'm a massive foodie and no trip to Normandy would be without the two top most produced items - Calvados and Normandy cheeses from the famous Pays d'Auge region. As part of the itinerary over the next 12 days in France, I wanted to sample these two things. As our campsite was brilliantly situated, I had planned 2 day trips to ensure we get the full experience of these top food exports from France.

I've often thought as parents 'how can we slip in a wine tasting trip or a brewery visit', so we can have something that we will enjoy yet, we can 'get away with it with the children being in tow. To be honest it hasn't happened in the last 10 years... until now.

I had got us tickets (and kids go free!) to do some Calvados tasting at Calvados Pere Magloire L'Experience. Now this isn't your bog standard tasting. You are guided through theatrical rooms that takes you on the journey of Calvados making, akin to Harry Potter World in the UK. It really is quite immersive and the kids loved it! It was also quite informative for all the family. For example I learnt that Calvados is a clear liquid and its the oak barrel ageing that produces the colour!

At the end of your journey, being taken from room to room, you end up in the tasting room. What was really sweet, was they have an apple juice on offer from local producers, that they give to the children, whilst you get to taste the real deal; which was such a lovely touch. You then have a personal bar person that takes you through your tasting journey, taking you through the ageing process up to the most delicious (and expensive) Calvados you have tasted, it was such a treat! The tour; quite rightly; ends in the shop and, we bought our favourites (husband and myself torn) to take back to camp so we can have a little tipple when we want to sit back and do some star gazing.

The tasting experience is in a commune called Pont l'Eveque, which I found out to my surprise that it is also famous for its Pont l'Eveque cheese, noted to be the oldest cheese produced in France. I found it akin to camembert (my longest most favourite friend), ergo absolutely loved it! We bought some cheese to take back to camp as our friend was arriving to also stay with us for a week so wanted to have a good stock of treats for when she arrived.

As I have alluded above, no trip to Normandy would not be a success if I did not visit the Mecca of cheese that is Camembert. This was my day, I couldn't wait! I've been a fan of Camembert for such a long time, and when I learnt how to make my own baguettes, successfully; (visit this blog for this great recipe) i'd reached cheese nirvana.

I wasn't sure what I expected but Camembert was small very rural, yet this world famous cheese, comes from a very unassuming yet charming town. Maison du Camembert celebrates Marie Harel and her creation of Camembert in the 16th Century, and guides you through the process on how camembert is made. You then get a chance to visit the factory to watch how it is made in reality, before heading back for a tasting session. You get to sample 3 different Camemberts that have differing ages, so essentially it is the same cheese at the start but very different come the end, which I found fascinating. Armed with further spoils we head to the nearest town for some lunch.

In Vimoutiers we found a lovely restaurant called L'Ardoise Gourmande, which seemed to showcase fromage and it felt like a fitting visit. We plumped for escargot again for starter as it said 'classique' so I figured (correctly) that they would come in their shells, another surprise for the kids. Then for main I had a cheese and charcuterie platter, featuring the 4 most famous Normandy Cheeses, two that I had come accustomed to, Camembert and Pont l'Eveque and, two new ones; Liverot and Neufchatel. All extremely delicious, for pudding I had the best chocolate mousse, I have ever tasted. In a mild food coma we head back to camp to, well, not do very much... perfect!

Interactive Calvados Experience

Interactive Calvados experience

Interactive Calvados experience

The Calvados experience tasting room

Very good Calvados

The Calvados Experience

Old french building

French catherdral in Pont L'evigque

River in Pont L'evique

Excellent cheese restaurant in Normandy

Platter of Normandy Cheeses and meats

Cheese Museum in Camembert

Cheese Museum in Camembert

Marie Harel who invented camembert cheese

Camembert cheese museum

Camembert cheese making

Camembert cheese tasting

Bar area at Sous les Etoilles campsite

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