The food in Normandy - #france #normandy #foodies #foodlovers #travel #travelblog #cheese #cider #seafood #chicken #poulet #fromage #calvados #gourmet

Uncover the secrets of food in Normandy

A few days ago I bought some French Camembert cheese. That got me thinking about the delicious food in Normandy and just how much I enjoyed the time that I spent there. Isn’t it funny how a simple thought can send you on a journey? The food in Normandy is simple and rich because of the addition of butter, cream and cheese to much of the traditional food of Normandy. This is just the kind of food that I love, decadent and indulgent.

Where is Normandy France

So, you’re wondering where exactly is this magical place called Normandy in France. Well, let me tell you all about it. Nestled along the northern coast of France, Normandy is a region filled with rich history and stunning landscapes. Normandy is known for its picturesque countryside dotted with charming villages and lush green fields and of course the food in Normandy.

The trip from Paris is around two hours by train so Normandy is ideal for a weekend away to explore the countryside and indulge in decadent food.  The area is rich in history and features the Vikings, William the Conqueror and WWII on centre stage. Normandy was also the inspiration for many of the Impressionists with pretty pastoral scenes, apple orchards and 600 km of coastline inspiring them.

Tempt your tastebuds with the best food in Normandy

1. Enjoy a seafood extravaganza

This coastline has some of the most important fishing ports in France. I love oysters and 21% of the oysters in France come from Normandy. Enjoying oysters that were in the ocean a short while ago is such a treat. I can still remember their briny taste so well.

At low tide, you can collect cockles and clams along the beaches. Lobsters, prawns and scallops are also plentiful. You can expect the waterfront restaurants all to serve their own unique house version of a seafood platter or assiette de fruits de mer that often includes mussels, crab and clams as well.

For great seafood, I particularly like the towns of Honfleur and Étretat, but Dieppe and Cherbourg are also popular choices.

Seafood platter with prawns and oysters
Seafood platter

2. Cheeses of Normandy

Normandy is known as the land of milk and cheese, it’s no wonder that this region produces some of the most delicious varieties in France. From creamy Camembert to tangy Livarot, Normandy offers an impressive selection that will satisfy even the pickiest cheese connoisseurs.

What makes Normandy cheese truly unique is the rich flavour derived from the lush pastures where the cows graze. The fertile soil and maritime climate create ideal conditions for the grass resulting in milk with exceptional taste. Add to that the meticulous traditional production methods passed down through generations, and you have cheeses that are not just delectable but also a testament to Normandy’s cultural heritage.

Many of the cheeses are rated as AOC or appellation d’origine controlee which is a certification,  in France, for a protected designation of origin. It covers wines, cheeses, butter and agricultural products. There are strict rules in place that must be met to be awarded the AOC recognition. There are 4 types of cheese in Normandy that have received the AOC certification.

The Pays d’Auge is an area in Normandy known for its cheese and this part of Normandy is heavenly if you love cheese.   Its history can be traced to the Dark Ages when cheese was made in monasteries. By the 11thcentury the type of cheese being produced in the region were the building blocks of what we know today. The “modern” versions began to emerge in the 17th century.

Camembert Cheese

The freshly made cheese is hard and pretty tasteless. As the cheese matures the interior becomes runny, rich and buttery and a white rind is formed. The rind is meant to be eaten with the cheese and not removed. You can also visit the village of Camembert to learn more about this delicious cheese and naturally try a few tasting samples as well. This without a doubt is one of the classic Normandy cheeses

Livarot Cheese

Livarot is matured for up to 2 months with a delicious nutty taste and is quite runny at room temperature. Each wheel is washed with brine and coloured with annatto. It slowly becomes golden in colour and little holes develop in it.

Pont-l’évêque

Pont-l’évêque has the distinction of being one of the oldest cheeses in the region and was previously called d’Angelot It has been made since at least the 12th century. It is pale yellow in colour with an orange rind and is soft, rich and creamy. It is a per cent match to enjoy with the local pears and cider.

This is another of my favourite cheeses from Normandy, but if you keep it too long it develops a very strong smell in the fridge and my husband always complains about it.

Neufchâtel

Neufchâtel cheese originated in 1035 in the village of Neufchâtel-en-Bray. I find that difficult to get my head around, especially when you think of everything that has happened in the world since then, but the cheese still remains being made, true to traditional methods.

It is a soft white cheese that comes in many shapes. The most popular is a heart shape. There is also a legend that French farm girls fell in love with English soldiers during the Hundred Years’ War and so they made heart-shaped cheese to express their love. I am not sure what happened if the soldier that received the cheese was not a cheese lover!

Melted Camembert cheese from Normandy
Camembert Cheese

This article contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a qualifying purchase, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

3. Normandy cider

I don’t know why, but one of the first things I do, when I arrive in France, is to buy some Normandy cider.  It is one of the Normandy specialities I just can’t get enough of when I visit. It’s so different from the English version of cider that I can’t resist it.

Some of the better brands come in bottles with a champagne-styled closure and they deliver the same satisfying pop when opened. Brut is the driest, but cider is also available in demi-sec or doux which is the sweetest of them all.

The new kid on the block is called cidre de glace (ice cider). It is made from apples that are left on the trees until winter. I haven’t had the pleasure of tasting this yet, but it’s on my list!

Cider has been around in Normandy since the 12th century. There are also some versions that are made from pears.  

4. Calvados

Imagine sipping on a smooth, golden liquid that transports you to the picturesque landscapes of Normandy. That’s exactly what calvados offers – a taste of the region’s rich history and natural beauty in every sip. Known as the “apple brandy” from Normandy, calvados is made by fermenting and distilling apples, creating a unique spirit with an apple-forward flavour profile. It was certified AOC in 1942

Normandy apple cider pommeau normandie
Cider

5. Normandy apples

If you have never tasted a Normandy apple tart before, you must add it to your culinary bucket list ASAP! These heavenly creations will transport you straight to France with their incredible fragrance and exquisite taste.

Apart from cider and Calvados apples are used extensively in cooking as well. Tarte Tatin is another favourite of mine and one of the iconic French desserts, but other versions of apple tarts from the region also come to mind. Naturally, being in dairy country, cream and butter are also a large part of the recipes. Are you convinced yet that the food in Normandy is delicious?

Normandy apple tart
Apple tart

6. Crepes

Although crêpes may have originated in its neighbour, Brittany, crepes are one of the popular foods in Normandy. You will find any number of crêperies all over Normandy. Sometimes you will see them described as galettes. This means that they are made from buckwheat flour and the fillings are normally savoury.

Both versions may be simple or gourmet, but either way, they are delicious and great for a snack washed down with a glass of cider.

Normandy crepes
Crepes

7. Agneaux de pré sale

Norman cuisine is full of surprises. What sets Agneaux de Prés-Salé apart from their counterparts is their diet. Traditionally, these lambs are grazed on salt marshes called prés-salés. This practice goes back a 1000 years. This natural grazing technique results in meat that boasts a delicate balance of flavours – hints of saltiness complemented by a subtle sweetness. It’s no wonder that food enthusiasts eagerly travel to Normandy to indulge in this exceptional culinary delight!

They are found mostly in the Mont Saint-Michel area, but you will also find them in parts of the Cotentin. Naturally, it is also AOC  certified.

lambs grazing in a field near Mont Saint Michel
Sheep grazing near Mont Saint Michel

8. Poulet de Bresse

Would you believe that a chicken can be compared to fine wine and is the only one to be AOC designated? It has bright white plumage and steely blue feet. These chickens have been described as the “fourth gastronomic wonder of the world” and are highly sought after. If you want to track them down they can be found in the region of Bourg-en- Bresse.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe from Normandy for chicken and one that I make often, especially in winter. It is also freezer friendly so cook up batch a and defrost it when you’re having a relaxing day. Although it is not traditional I sometimes serve it with orzo pasta which is similar to a grain of rice in shape.

Poulet de Bresse,, poulard der Bresse, Chapon de Bresse Normandy
Poulet de Bresse

Other Normandy food specialties

9. Andouillette

Andouillette, a tripe sausage, is a traditional French sausage that is not for the faint-hearted, as it’s made from pig intestines and stomach lining. But fear not, because the combination of spices and seasoning gives it a mouthwatering taste that locals can’t get enough of.

It has a coarse consistency with chunks of lean pork intertwined with fat, giving it a mouthwatering richness that melts in your mouth. The secret to its tantalizing flavour lies in the herbs used to season it – predominantly onions, garlic, parsley, and thyme – which create an explosion of tastes with every bite.

In some ways, it reminds me of a good haggis from Scotland.

Andouille de Vire is usually served cold, thinly sliced, with fresh bread and cooked apples. Boudin noir is another local speciality made from pig’s blood, onions and pork fat. Game is also a popular choice across the region.

What to eat in Normandy - Andouillette
Normandy specialities – Andouillette  © Wikicommons

10. Trou Normande

If you want to taste something truly unique and mouthwatering you must try Le trou Normand! Now, if you’re scratching your head wondering what on earth this is, don’t worry, I got you covered. Le trou normand is a delightful French culinary tradition that involves taking a small break during a long meal. It is a local tradition to enjoy a shot of Calvados splashed over apple sorbet between courses. But here’s the real kicker – this shot is meant to cleanse your palate and prepare it for more food!

Sometimes the Trou Normand is just a shot of Calvados. This is the popular choice if you are having a seafood meal as it is said the avoid indigestion.

Normandy cuisine – trou Normand
Trou Normand

11. Marmite Dieppoise

I know that I have mentioned the Normandy seafood before, but unlike bouillabaisse which you will find on many menus across France, you won’t easily find a marmite Dieppoise outside of Normandy. I have to explain at this point that a marmite in France is a traditional potbelly-shaped casserole dish rather than the brown umami spread that is common in England.

The marmite Dieppoise originated from the town of Dieppe as you have probably guessed. The creamy broth, made with crème fraiche, cider and butter is the perfect carrier for the freshly caught seafood that blends beautifully in a deliciously hearty meal, especially on a cold winter’s day.

best food in Normandy- Marmite Dieppoise
Marmite Dieppoise –  © Wikicommons

In conclusion, the food in Normandy is a delightful blend of tradition and innovation. From creamy Camembert to succulent seafood, there is something to satisfy every palate. The rich history and cultural heritage of the region can be tasted in every bite. So why not embark on a culinary adventure and indulge in the flavours of Normandy? Whether you’re a foodie or simply enjoy good food, this region will not disappoint. Plan your trip now and let your taste buds explore the culinary wonders of Normandy!

Normandy food tours

These are a couple of recommended tours that you might like. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to choose from.

Places to stay in Normandy France

I always use Booking.com for my bookings, but you can also find more of my recommendations for places to stay in Normandy in my guide on what to do in Normandy.

Read next

NEED A REMINDER? PIN IT!

Similar Posts