Juicy green pears hanging on the tree.Juicy green pears hanging on the tree.
©Juicy green pears hanging on the tree.|EduardSV - stock.adobe.com


Everything you need to know about the pears in Orne's orchards

For a long time, pear trees were the mainstay of the orchards of Lower Normandy before gradually being replaced by apple trees. From the same family as the apple, pears are a soft, sweet fruit. Pears from Domfront have been awarded a protected designation of origin (AOC).

Hundreds of varieties of pear

Nearly three hundred varieties of pear have been catalogued in the pear orchards of the Parc Régional Normandie-Maine. As with Normandy apples, there are two types of pear: dessert pears and perry pears.

There are two protected designations of origin for pears: “Poiré Domfront”  has an AOP label for making perry and “Calvados Domfrontais” has an AOC label for making calvados.

Dessert pears

Several varieties of dessert pear are cultivated in the pear orchards. Among these, some varieties of pear benefit from either the AOC Calvados Domfrontais or the AOP Poiré Domfront label, including Saint-Jean, Verdot, Franc-Loup, Pomeret and Poire de Normandie. Some dessert pears are as suited to eating as they are to juicing.

Pear juice and perry pears

AOP Poiré Domfront perry pears come exclusively from grassy orchards with tall trees. The density of planting must not exceed 150 trees per hectare (whereas “specialist orchards” of apple trees can have from 500 to 800 trees per hectare). Perry is mainly made from the variety “Plant de Blanc”, a rare product that carefully balances sweetness and acidity. Other varieties used include Domfront, Poire Muscadet, Poire de Champagne and Poire Gai Blanc.

Pear orchards in Orne

During your stay in Bagnoles de l’Orne you will see many apple and pear orchards. Don’t miss the orchard at the Tour de Bonvouloir.

Pear season

Like apples, the pear harvest takes place from the end of July to October. However, depending on the variety, some pears are harvested during November (such as Morfriand) and sometimes even a little later into the winter.

Conservation orchards

As with apple trees, the genetic heritage of the region’s pear trees has been conserved by the Parc Naturel Régional Normandie-Maine for several decades. The most spectacular pear orchard is undoubtedly the conservation orchard at the Tour de Bonvouloir, which has no fewer than 176 pear trees! The orchard at Carrouges has 70 varieties of pear.

Culinary specialities made with pears

Soft, sweet pears are perfect for making delicious little dishes. They go very well with cloves, honey and chocolate. Keep pears in a cold place away from apples, bananas and avocados, which will accelerate ripening.

Pear drinks

Pear juice is an excellent drink that is particularly enjoyed by children. Perry, or poiré, is an sparkling drink similar to cider made by fermenting pear juice from specific varieties of perry pears. Calvados, is an eau de vie obtained by distilling cider and perry.

Ideas for pear recipes

Beurré Normand, which has a version made with pears, is a delicious cake made with currants and eau-de-vie de poiré which could also be replaced by Calvados. Tarte Bourdaloue is a classic that is made with poached pears and almond frangipane. Pear soufflé, pears poached in red wine, or even a simple pear cut in half and covered in melted chocolate will also delight your tastebuds!