Today is my birthday, and as such, I got to choose 2 of our 3 main activities. I entreat you to guess which one was not my idea.
The Normandy area of France is famous for a few culinary delights – Camembert, mussels, butter, caramel and cider/calvados. I had discovered months ago that a cidery in a small village called Rots offered a generous Sunday morning brunch, and thought it would a fun alternative to birthday dinner. So we got up and hit the very soggy road (it ended up raining all day) westbound towards La Ferme de Billy. The village of Rots itself is adorable – stone buildings, lantern-like street lamps and the obligatory church with graveyard. We pulled into the well-marked cidery and it was beautiful, and the inside was even better – rustic yet modern decoration with a “salty” buffet table, a “sweet” buffet table and a bottle of home made apple juice on every table. The hostess seated us and encouraged us to get up and fill our plates, but we sat, a little shell shocked by the sheer amount and variety of food.
Some of my favourite things that I ate – bacon quiche, cauliflower au gratin, speculoos mousse, crème brûlée and a brownie.
After we could quite literally eat no more, we waddled out to the car and headed another soaking 20 minutes west towards the town of Bayeux. Bayeux is a beautiful town, but it most famous for – tapestry. Apparently, technically it’s an embroidery, but the reason why this “tapestry” is so remarkable is twofold- its age (11th century) and size (70m or 230 feet long). The whole thing depicts the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror and culminates with Harold getting an arrow to the eye. No photos were allowed and I was VERY sceptical about view a really big and really old cloth, but the audio guide made it pretty worthwhile- the British man’s voice and clear enthusiasm for medieval handicrafts paired with the jaunty period motet made for an interesting viewing.
We got drenched walking back to the car and headed further west for our final destination – Caramels d’Isigny. It seems to be a pretty popular brand in the area, but when I read that at the main shop and factory you can get caramel ice cream covered in salted butter caramel sauce, my mind was made up.
The shop (or Halles) was enormous and full of different caramel and creamy treats – candies, sauces, toppings and a fromagerie. We shopped the aisles and picked out some candies and sauces for ourselves, before finally hitting the ice cream stand. The ice cream was everything I wanted it to be.
Stuffed again, we headed back towards Fécamp, where we decided to split the bottle of Pommeau we bought at La Ferme de Billy and toasted my 35 years.