I was so lucky to be able to do my Junior Year Aboard in France. Although the allure of Paris was undeniable, I opted for the bustling city of Rouen – the capital of the northwestern province of Normandy. Rouen is famous for the trial of Joan of Arc and her subsequent death by fire. The main square of Rouen is dedicated to her which isn’t far from the famous Cathedral painted by Monet.
Normandy is iconic in the American psyche – GIs storming a shore in the great D-day invasion or the soft Spring flowered paintings of Monet and apples. Apples? OUI Apples!!
Normandy is well known for its ‘pommes’ – apples of all sorts. And when there are apples, there are a lot of tangy, tempting apple treats.
Chief among them is ‘Calvados’, a liqueur distilled from apples. You can get in almost every region of France, but in Normandy it’s an institution. It can be drunk neat, or with a cube of sugar which the French call a ‘canard’ or duck (who knows why?) or added to everything from stews to the famous apple tarts, breads, pies or just as an accompaniment to a warm cup of coffee.
Apples play a key role in many other dishes of Normandy such as roasted veal with apples, white sausage (boudin) with apples, soufflé normans, crêpe normande, Apple beignets even egg omelettes with apples.
Think about Normandy the next time you’re dreaming of the Louvre and the Champs d’Elysee. Paris is great, but Normandy will warm your heart.