We love all the regions where we offer cooking vacations, but some really stand out as perfect examples of amazing regional cuisine, fantastic local food products, and interesting cultural and historical sites. Normandy is one such place. From the rugged coast to the small hamlets where you feel like you’re living the life of the locals, it is a perfect culinary destination. There are many reasons why you should choose Normandy for your cooking holiday in France, but here is our list of the top five!
Five Reasons to Visit Normandy on a Cooking Vacation
Maybe we are biased, but good dairy is in itself a perfectly good reason to visit anyplace, and Normandy has an abundance of good cheeses, butter, and cream. In fact, something “à la Normande” in French generally means a creamy or buttery sauce (although sometimes refers to the addition of apple products such as cider and Calvados). I’ve heard its the temperate climate along the coast that provides such good grazing for the cows. Whether that is true or not, the result is such world-famous cheeses as Camembert, Neufchatel, Livarot, and Pont-l’Eveque.
Speaking of apples… they are not only found in their natural form, but are used to make Normandy’s two most famous non-dairy products: cider and Calvados, the region’s famed apple brandy. Both are a mix of tangy and sweet, perfect accompaniments to the regions dishes. Calvados is used between courses to help prepare the diner for the next dish, a noble drink indeed! And take note: you can visit a local organic cider producer during our most popular cooking vacation in Normandy.
Despite its hundreds of hundreds of miles of coastland, Normandy is actually famed for its meat (beef, lamb, and duck in particular). Still, it would be impossible not to give a spot to Normandy’s oysters, as its Cotentine (or Cherbourg) peninsula is one of the major oyster producers in France, including the famed Huîtres de Pleine mer.
Mont Saint-Michel and its deadly tides feature prominently in Adam Gidwitz’s novel The Inquisitor’s Tale.
4. Mont Saint-Michel
One of the most popular sites in France, the Mont Saint-Michel is a medieval Benedictine abbey perched on the top of a rocky island and entirely surrounded by water. For popular film fans, it was also the inspiration for Peter Jackson’s Minas Tirith in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The site and its deadly tides also feature prominently in Adam Gidwitz’s popular 2016 novel The Inquisitor’s Tale. Stunning is the only word to describe it!
5. The Beaches of D-Day
No visit to Normandy would be complete without a visit to the beaches that marked one of the greatest military events in history. The D-Day landing of Allied forces in France during World War II marked its 70th anniversary earlier this month, a moment that changed the course of the war and is poignantly honored in the memorial at Omaha Beach.
These are just a few of the reasons to visit this amazing region on our French cooking vacations. Can you think of others?
By Peg Kern
Try these recipes from Normandy:
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