Shannon and I visited Normandy, France last week, and traveled through Paris on the way. Even though Caen was a nice town to stay in, and Mont Saint-Michel was beautiful, the highlight of our trip was our visit to Luc and Nicole’s beautiful organic cider apple farm. We were so glad to have stopped here first on our trip to Cambremer to see the Route de Cidre, and avoided all of the bigger producers.
After trying to communicate using our broken French, it turned out that Nicole and Luc speak English well, so that was helpful. Nicole showed us around even though she had other things to do, so after our tour, we helped her to hand-label several cases of cider. As we discussed their cider, we learned that they’re the only farm in the area to grow their apples organically and they do this not because they can make more money, but just because it’s the right thing to do. I can’t say that their cider is that much different than many of the others we tried during this trip, but it’s good stuff, and we’re happy to support their farm and lifestyle. This is the kind of place where they stop for a sit-down farm lunch in the middle of the day, and you can help out with the farm work if you’re visiting.
There’s grass under the trees that gets mowed by a few cows, and they still make their cider the old “farmhouse” or “fermier” way: Collect apples when they fall on the ground, save them in the attic so they don’t get rotten too fast, and then hand-sort, crush and press them for juice. The juice is fermented (by adding nothing) in huge barrels and then racked into other barrels to filter it. After fermentation is complete, the cidre is bottled and stored for the year. Any extra cider at the end of the year will get distilled into Calvados. They were going to do the distillation the day after we visited, and encouraged us to come back to see the process. Sadly, we couldn’t make it.
There’s a nice cottage in the back that’s set up as an “ecogite” as they say in France- the same as an “agritourismo” in Italy or an “Eco-lodge” in english. If we had known about it earlier, it would have been lots of fun to stay there. It reminded us a lot of our trip to the bio-dynamic farm Casa Scaparone in northern Italy.
14340 Satint-Laurent du Mont
local phone: 02 31 62 27 24