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A Taste of Normandy

Part Two of Four

When life gives you apples ...

Michel Legallois wanted to make wine, but grapes don't grow in Normandie, apples do. So he and his brother Philippe make award-winning Cider, Pommeau and Calvados instead! You know what apple cider is (although you may not know how many varieties there are!) but what is Pommeau? Calvados? All in good time ...

La Ferme de la Sapiniere
Michel Legallois and Traci - the entrance to the farm

Located in St Laurent-sur-Mer, in the heart of Omaha Beach, this farm pays tribute to D-Day and the liberation of France through a series of documented photographs. It is important to remember the events of the past and to honor those who sacrificed so much for us. The apple orchards belonging to the family stretch all the way to Omaha Beach, and the American Cemetery. After visiting these touching memorials, the farm is a welcome stop to reflect, and to see how generations have moved forward.

This is a friendly, welcoming place where you can taste and discover all of the nuances between the various types of apple spirits. There are 4 types of cidre made here, varying in degrees of sweetness, much like Champagne: Le Demi-sec, Le Brut, Le Verger du Littoral and Le Rivage du Bessin. All of the cidres have a natural effervescence that comes from a second fermentation while in the bottle. Although hard ciders have become more popular in the US, I'm not sure there is a brand that makes so many different varieties. It is refreshing to be able to taste the subtle differences and define your taste. Michel recommends pairing different cidres with different dishes, just as you would pair wine with your food. The 2019 Demi-Sec just received a Gold Medal, so be sure to give this one a try! (le Cidre Demi-Sec SPÉCIAL 75ème ANNIVERSAIRE Omaha Beach won a Silver Medal as well).

Calvados, or apple brandy, has become more popular with the artisan cocktail craze in the US recently. Calvados has a long tradition in France that rivals its cousin to the south Cognac (made from grapes, not apples). There are two kinds of Calvados you can buy here, "young" and "aged". Of course artisan cocktails are popular in France as well - for example, try the "Calvados Mojito".

Calvados Mojito
Calvados Mojito - *Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health - please consume with moderation

I had never heard of "Pommeau" before, but was glad to give it a try! It is a blend of apple juice and Calvados, making it a bit less strong. Be sure to try it here as it is rare if not impossible to find in the US.

The farm also produces apple juice (which won a Gold Medal in 2019), pear juice and a spirit from pears called "Poire" that won a Silver Medal in 2019. Plan a tour to see how the various beverages are made. Be sure to spend time in the boutique as well - the Legallois have a deep sense of community and support the local artisans. You will find a variety of local cheeses (including the signature cheese of Normandy - le camembert), jams, honey, soups, local salts, caramels d'Isigny ... You may want to bring a basket and plan for a picnic!

And now, I introduce you to Michel Legallois and his family farm!

On your next trip to Normandy, find them at:

La Ferme de la Sapinière Route de Port en bessin 14710 Saint Laurent sur Mer Tél : 02 31 22 40 51 Fax : 02 31 21 48 43 Coordonnées GPS : N 49°21'23" W 0°52'33"

*Alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health - please consume in moderation.

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