Sweet as apple pie

Normandy's rustic charm.
Normandy's rustic charm. Photo: Getty Images

It's all about the food in Normandy, Queenslander Glenda Parker finds on her sixth cruise.

WHERE

Normandy is a region of north-eastern France that is known for its produce as well as for the D-Day landings of 1944. Glenda's full-day shore excursion started and finished in Rouen, on the River Seine.

THE SHIP

Glenda cruised with her husband, Alec, and daughter, Hayley, on a Cruise for Mates "Grand France" chartered river cruise from Paris to Arles (cruiseformates.com.au). They cruised on two ships, the MS Avalon Scenery and the MS Avalon Creativity, with celebrity chefs Manu Feildel, Janelle Bloom and Alastair McLeod as hosts.

THE EXPERIENCE

"It's worth going to Normandy just to taste the glorious, salty butter.

"Normandy has its own breed of dairy cattle and their milk apparently has a higher fat content, which makes for really flavoursome butter.

"We were having a lovely lunch with quiches, cold meats and salad but we ended up asking for more bread so we could have more of the butter.

"The lunch was in a restaurant in Beuvron-en-Auge, which is a beautifully preserved Norman village with buildings going back to the 16th century. The food was served with apple cider and we also tasted some local cheeses.

"Normandy is known for three 'C's, camembert, cider and calvados (apple brandy).

"In the afternoon, we went to a calvados distillery in the Pays-d'Auge area, which has beautiful green hills and valleys that are good for cattle and apple orchards.

"The calvados is made during the winter, so the distillery wasn't working, but they took us on a tour and down into the cellar full of wooden barrels.

"In the cafe and shop, we were given tastings of three different maturities of the brandy, which I decided is . . . an acquired taste!

"I was more impressed with the huge slices of wonderful apple pie, with fresh cream.

"The tour was mostly about food but we also visited the town of Bayeux to see the famous Bayeux tapestry, which depicts the Battle of Hastings in 1066."

VALUE FOR MONEY

Glenda's shore excursion was included in her cruise fare, which was "definitely value for money". "It's made us want to go back and spend some more time there."

As told to Jane E. Fraser

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