While touring the Second World War sites of Normandy (the D-Day beaches) we made sure to explore the landscape and cuisine of Normandy in another way: tasting and buying the Cru de Cambremer cider. My favourite place to do this is in one of France’s 100 most beautiful villages Beuvron-en-Auge.
The town is situated in the heart of the Calvados region, in the Pays d’Auge, midway between Caen and Lisieux. Once part of an aristocratic duchy, there are only ruins of the castle mound left, and only just over 200 people live here today.
Beuvron-en-Auge is packed with half-timbered houses from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, now home to cute cafes and antique shops. The crowning glory is the Fifteenth Century Harcourt Manor house.
Look out for the red and gold coat of arms of the Harcourt family (the former Marquis de Beauvron) and now of Beuvron-en-Auge. The 17th Century Church of St Martin is also lovely.
The Pays d’Auge is famous for its cider and we found a number of cellar doors offering tastings. As well as cider, this region of France is famous for Calvados, a sort of apple brandy. It is also sometimes known as “eau de vie de cidre”. There are records of apple orchards and brewing in this region dating back to the 8th Century.
Specially grown and selected apples are used and the resulting pressed and fermented dry cider is then distilled and aged for (at least) two years in oak casks. A great time to visit Beuvron-en-Auge is at the end of October when there is a cider and local produce market following the apple harvest.
By Natasha von Geldern