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Everything there is to know about Normandy apples

Apples remain a flagship product of French gastronomy and Normandy in particular. Since the Middle Ages, Normandy has been the Orchard of France and many varieties of apple are conserved here. Discover the conservation orchards around Bagnoles de l’Orne and taste this closely guarded fruit!

Hundreds of varieties of apple

The Parc Régional Normandie-Maine has catalogued more than four hundred varieties of apples in its orchards. These are divided into two types: dessert apples and cider apples. Some specific varieties of cider apples are used in the production of Calvados Domfrontais, an AOC product.

Dessert apples or eating apples

The best known local varieties are Calleville and Reinette, but there are all sorts of apples in all sorts of colours! Whether you prefer sweet apples such as Lanterne or acidic ones such as Locart Blanc, you’re bound to find one to your taste.

Cider apples

The Normandy ciders and apple juices produced in Orne are made from specific varieties such as Damelot, Pomme Blanche, Petit Muscadet de l’Orne and Romany. There are more cider apple varieties than eating apples.

AOC Calvados Domfrontais cider apple varieties

Calvados Domfrontais is a protected designation of origin. It must be distilled from a cider made with apples from the area around Domfront and at least 30% perry pears. Among the twelve varieties of apples used in this Calvados are Doux Veret de Carrouges, Beau Roger, Frequin, Clozette Douce, Tête de Brebis and Médaille d’Or.

Apple orchards

in Orne

Between the forest and the Normandy countryside, apple orchards flourish all around Bagnoles de l’Orne. Don’t miss the conservation orchard at Carrouges, in the Parc Naturel Régional Normandie-Maine.

Apple season

In the spring, the Normandy countryside is lit up by the blossoming apple orchards. Apples are harvested from the end of July until October when the first fruits naturally fall to the ground. Some varieties are harvested later in the winter, like Jeanne Hardy and Pomme d’Orange.

Visit a conservation orchard

Since 1975 the Parc Naturel Régional Normandie-Maine has been conserving the genetic heritage of the region’s apple trees in conservation orchards. Today there are several of these orchards including that at the Maison du Parc in Carrouges, where there are 90 varieties of apple used for cider production.

Bagnoles de Pom’

Don’t miss the guided tour of the Bagnoles de Pom’ cider apple orchard in Bagnoles de l’Orne. You can explore the orchard and its varieties of cider apples and find out how the trees are pruned and trained.

Culinary specialities made with apples

Apples play a major role in the cuisine of Normandy and many specialities contribute to the culinary reputation of the region.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Bristish Proverb

Apple drinks

Apple juice and cider remain the most popular drinks in the region. Calvados, the regional spirit, is an apple brandy obtained by distilling cider. Pommeau, on the other hand, is a sweet and fruity aperitif made with Calvados and apple must.

Normandy dishes made with apples

Normandy apples make an excellent base for savoury dishes with a touch of sweetness, such as duck fillets with caramelised apples, escalopes à la normande – the sauce of which is made of cream, cider, mushrooms and Calvados – black pudding with apples, and apples with camembert.

Apple desserts

Perhaps the most famous desert is Tarte Normande: a shortcrust pastry case covered with apples and a custard of crème fraîche, eggs, sugar and Calvados. The Soufflé Normand is a gourmet desert that brings together elements of a soufflé and an apple charlotte.

Excessive drinking is dangerous for your health. Drink in moderation.