Calvados Sign
Calvados Barrels
Pomme Prisonniere
Route Du Cidre
Quince Jelly
Calvados Cake
Restaurant Square


The Normans will tell you that the best season in which to live in Normandy is the spring. Just imagine a gentle green landscape dotted with half timbered farmhouses and thatched cottages. Smell the bouquet of nine million apple trees covered with pink or white lacey blossom that fill an abundance of apple orchards where the cows graze on the grass below the branches of the taller apple trees, producing a lush lawn to cushion the fall of the apples in autumn. Apples yield 'Normandy's Sun'; the famous apple brandy named after its fruitful region Its production is quite a complex one.
The cider apples grown for the Calvados industry are divided into four families: sweet, bitter, bitter-sweet and sour, the exact proportions used in blending being kept secret by each cider maker. Next the apples are pressed into a juice that's fermented into a cider. The cider is heated and the aromatic fruity vapour is collected in a double distillation process. The longer the ageing process, the smoother the brandy, but after two years in oak casks , the spirit (now a mid - golden colour) can be officially sold as Calvados. The aroma in a fresh apple that is desirable in a younger Calvados becomes fundamental for longer maturing which can go on for three years to fifty. As the Calvados ages these fruity aromas merge with the woody flavours of the cask and take on the tannins from the oak which give the drink its amber colour. The size, age and type of the casks - some that once housed port or sherry will also partly determine the flavour. Finally the cellar master, more an alchemist than a manager, works with the stock in his individual way. His careful blending of young and old Calvados reflects the personal style and taste of the producer, much like wine, but unlike wine, once it is bottled Calvados ceases ageing.


Begins in the beautiful village of Cambremer, where a visit to the little blue painted Tourist office in Rue Pasteur is highly recommended. Here you can obtain more info on the cider route, then follow the signs with the arrow and apple emblems and sample where you see 'Ici vente de cidre'. The trail takes you on through Lavarot, Pont l'Eveque, and Camembert, where come some of the finest cheeses, Lisieux, and the Auge capital with its old centre, Dozul'e, Beuvron-en-Auge, and Leaupartie and the town of Orbec, with its glut of timbered houses, country markets with antiques and bric-a-brac stalls.
There's plenty to see too at the many well maintained cider farms and Calvados distilleries. Some are incorporated into large family chateaux, which offer tours of the the original workings housed in their splendid vaulted cellars, the 'caves', the bottling areas and the huge old copper distilling vats. There are also cellar door sales, where you can buy Pommeau, (a very popular Normandy aperitif) a mix of cider and Calvados matured in oak casks), cider itself and other by - products like apple jelly (which is delicious with creamy rabbit dishes, pork or roast goose), even Calvados scented chocolate truffles (yes the flavours works well).
And tasting the Calvados, of course, will in my experience guarantee you one of the best night's sleep you've ever had.


Young Calvados with fresh tones of apple works well in most recipes. Look for the symbols 3 stars and 3 apples (This means that the Calvados has matured for a minimum of at least 2 years in the wood) Longer aged Calvados with its woody tones is better for drinking.


This beautiful amber coloured jelly, flavoured with Calvados is wonderful with roast goose. It also makes a a l glaze to apple tarts and cakes and a excellent
flavouring to an apple sorbet.

1.3kg( 3lb ) quince pips removed
1.7litres ( 3pts ) water
granulated sugar
2tbls Calvados

Cut the quince into rough 4cm (11/2in) chunks without removing the skin or cores.
Place in a large saucepan with the water. Bring to boiling point then reduce the heat to a
simmer. Partly cover the pan with a lid and leave the fruit to cook for 11/2 hours until soft, stirring occasionally.
Spoon the contents of the pan into a jelly bag, or muslin tied in a cradle shape suspended over a large bowl and leave to drain overnight. Avoid squeezing the bag or this will impair the clarity of the jelly later.
The following morning, measure the amount of juice and weigh out 450g (1lb) sugar
for every 600ml (1pt) liquid. Pour the juice into a medium sized pan and stir in the sugar. Bring slowly to the boil and stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
Cook for 10 minutes until (using a sugar thermometer) setting point occurs at 105C (221F), it's wise to use the saucer test as well: spoon a small pool onto a cold saucer, allow to cool then nudge it with your finger: If it wrinkles and clings to the spot, setting point has been reached (Remove the pan from the heat when you do the saucer test or the jam or jelly liquid may over boil) and produce stiff, gummy results.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Calvados. leave to stand for 10 minutes, then pour into hot jars and seal.


Serve in a small glass in one scoop and douse with a little Calvados. This is the traditional way of serving it in this region of France.

350g (12oz) Bramley apples, peeled cored
juice of 1 large lemon
115g (4oz) Quince and Calvados jelly (as above) or, shop bought quince jelly, lightly melted
115g - 140g (4oz - 5oz) caster sugar, depending if you like a tart or more sweet sorbet
10fluoz (1/2pt) water

Finely peel and core the apples, then cut them into small pieces. Place the apple, lemon juice and quince jelly in a saucepan. Leave the ingredients to simmer gently, stirring once or twice, until the apple is tender. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Boil without stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Puree the apple and quince mixture and stir into the cooled syrup. Freeze in a shallow metal container until half frozen, hard around the edges and mushy in the centre, take it from the freezer and beat it thoroughly to break down the ice crystals with an electric beater. Return to the freezer until the mixture has the same half frozen appearance as before. Beat again, until smooth, then cover with a double folded lid of kitchen foil and re-freeze until required. Or use an ice cream maker if you have one and follow the manufacturers instructions.


This recipe was inspired by Madame Marie Jo Lambert at Les Pommiers de Livaye Guest house (near to Cambremer the start of the Cider route). Whose breakfast room dominated by a huge log fire - exuded warmth and comfort every morning.
Breakfast consisted of a fresh fried egg, a bowl of fromage frais, home made breads with Madame's own fruit conserves and her delicious apple cake fragrant with Calvados, which is also very good served with a glass of Pommeau at any time of the day.

For this recipe you need one 450g (1lb) French loaf tin, (a long slim loaf tin), lightly greased with butter and lined at the base with non - stick bakewell parchment.

115g (4oz) golden caster sugar
115g (4oz) self raising flour, sifted
small pinch of salt
115g (4oz) French butter
3 fresh free - range eggs (medium size)
1tbls Calvados
1tsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract
55g (2oz) finely ground almonds
1/2 small French Golden Delicious apple, or Bramley if you prefer a more tart flavour sliced into 5mm (1/4in) crescents

For the glaze

3tbls Quince and Calvados jelly, or apple jelly
1 tbls water
1tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbls Calvados

Mix the sugar, sifted flour and salt together in a bowl. Melt but do not brown the butter and set aside. Lightly beat the eggs and mix them into the sugar and flour mixture and gradually add the cooled butter, Calvados, vanilla and the ground almonds. Mix well but not too vigorously. Cover and leave to stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and smooth the top. Lightly press in the apple segments (peeled or with the skin left on) in an upright position leaving a little space between to allow the mixture to puff up around them. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C/375F/Gas mark 5, for 50 - 60 minutes until a cake skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If necessary cover the cake with baking parchment to stop it over - browning towards the end of cooking. Leave to cool slightly.
For the glaze Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan except for the alcohol and boil rapidly until it slightly thickens. Stir in the alcohol and leave to simmer fairly energetically for about one minute until syrupy. Paint the warm glaze over the top and sides of the cake and leave it to completely cool on a rack.


Le Auberge du Dauphin restaurant, Le Bourg 14130 Le Breuil en Auge
Tel 00 33 2 31 65 08 11
Fax 00 33 2 31 65 12 08

A one star Michelin Restaurant who specialises in superb Calvados gastronomic food. There is always a warm welcome from Chef Regis Lecomte and his wife Marie-jose at Le Auberge Dauphin who will love to telling you about the time the Queen dropped in to dine with an entourage of 40 people during the 60th anniversary of the D' day ceremonies in 2004. She must have enjoyed the meal as she sent a thank you letter from Buckingham Palace, which hangs on the walls of the warm yellow stylish restaurant interior. Beautiful food that specialises in Calvados inspired dishes using mouth watering regional produce.

Le Pav'e d' Auge, Beuvron en Auge, Le Pav'e d' Auge
Tel 00 33 2 31 79 26 71

Fax 00 33 2 31 39 04 45

A one star Michelin Restaurant to delight fine food lovers with very smart rooms to stay. Chef Jerome Bansard who trained under the Roux brothers in England knows his stuff and is the proprietors of this very pretty half timbered market building situated in the centre of Beuvron en Auge, one of the most beautiful villages on the Cider trail. Pretty antique shops and farm shops here to while away an hour or two, or more. Jerome's recently refurbished rooms are modern and exceptionally well designed with plasma TVs. Breakfast in the Restaurant.


There are many cider farms and Calvados distilleries on the Cider Route, sorry not enough room to list them all. Here are three excellent ones that you should see, (also see Cider Route).

Manoir La Brie're des Fontaines
14340 Cambremer: Tel 00 33 2 31 63 01 09

A large producer of agricultural made Calvados Pays d'Aug with a range of 3 - 30 years of very high quality award winning products including cider, Pommeauu, cider vinegar, apple jelly, apple juice and much more in the shop, at the charming 'La Brie're Manor. Cyril Marchand, enthusiastically runs his family concern who have been making cider and Calvados for five generations and have supplied many fine restaurants including the famous Bocuse.
Do also visit the beautiful gardens at Les Jardins du Pays d' Auge, just a few minutes walk from the Manoir La Brie'res des Fontaines which has a delightful Creperie and Salon de th'e.

14130 Le-Breuil - en-Auge
Tel 00 33 2 31 65 60 00

Seventeenth century cellars provide a majestic home for the casks, ensuring a serene ageing process, on a large scale to some of the finest award winning young and old traditionally made Calvados, cider and Pommeau.
Set in one of the region's most beautiful chateaus which is situated in a dreamy fairy tale setting by a lake. A perfect venue for seminars or gourmet meals and group visits.
Cellar door sales tasting facilities are situated next to the chateau.

Route de Trouville ( RN 177 ) - 14130 Coudray- rabut.
Tel 00 33 2 31 64 30 05

Well maintained concern also has a house for visiting parties, a tasting room and sales. Stocks include quality traditional blends and very old Calvados acquired when estates of well - known producers have been sold. One of the specialities, of the 'Coeur de Lion' estate is Pomme Prisonnie're (Imprisioned apple). In late May or early June the embryo of the fading apple blossom is inserted through the narrow neck of a brandy bottle which is carefully attached to the apple's branch as it grows. When the apple reaches full maturity, it is detached from the branch still in the bottle and preserved in Calvados.



Carol Pastor stayed at Les Pommiers Guest house (a family run country manor house). Contact Madame Marie Jo Lambert, Les Pommiers de Livaye 14340 ND, De Livaye, Normandy.
Telephone 00 33 2 31 63 01 28


Carol Pastor travelled to Normandy by the excellent service of Rail Europe.
From Waterloo to Paris Nord - where she made a connection to St Lazaar railway station Paris to Lisieux, Normandy. The taxi between the two Paris stations cost her about 12 Euros for a 25 minute journey, but it can can take up to 45 minutes if the Paris traffic is heavy so take these times into account when booking your tickets.


Return fares from London to Lisieux start at £83 in standard class.
All prices are per person and subject to availability.
For bookings visit or call 08708 304 862. Personal callers are welcome at the Rail Europe Travel Centre, 178 Piccadilly, London W1.