Published on 4 May 2020
Reading time: 5 minutes
Calvados, Normandy’s apple brandy
A visit to Normandy provides ample opportunity to sip and savour Calvados apple brandy, an amber-hued liqueur loved for its sweet aroma and smooth layered flavour. This regional alcoholic drink captivates curious and discerning liqueur lovers from all corners of the globe. Distilled from cider pressed in the many orchard farms and distilleries, Calvados qualifies for AOC status (Protected Designation of Origin), which attests that apples used in it originate from the Pays d’Auge. Calvados producers often also produce pommeau, Calvados mixed with fermented apple juice, which is typically drunk as an apéritif and also makes a great gift.
Caramels au Beurre d’Isigny
Among an impressive array of Normandy’s dairy products, salted butter caramels (or toffees) are a gem of local confectionery! Made with Norman salted butter especially from Isigny, these mouth-watering sweet specialities can be flavoured with apple or calvados, and are often elegantly presented in a wooden box, or in an old milk jug. Another regional treat is the Caramel de Pommes Dieppois, a delicious spread made from three local ingredients (apples, sugar and butter) based on the recipe of a Master Chocolatier of Dieppe. The ideal authentic gift for anyone with a sweet tooth!
Best known as the world’s oldest candle maker, Cire Trudon has been manufacturing candles in Normandy since 1643, supplying France’s cathedrals and nobility for centuries. Candles, but also home fragrances are handmade in the workshops of Mortagne-au-Perche in the Orne département. Visit the factory and purchase some fragrant, high-quality candles as a unique gift from our region. You’ll also find Trudon candles in various gift shops throughout Normandy.
- Order your candles here
Striped Saint-James Shirts and Sweaters
Whether you are looking for men’s, women’s or children’s apparel, a 100% ‘Made in Normandy’ nautical striped shirt and sweater from Saint-James is a must-have for any wardrobe. The ethical French fashion brand founded in 1889 has a wide selection of top quality clothing that will serve as a great souvenir of your Normandy trip and also keep you extremely warm during those cold winter months. The factory is in the Manche département, near the Mont-Saint-Michel.
- Shop on the Saint-James website
A bottle of Benedictine
Benedictine is one of the world’s oldest and most complex liqueurs, truly unique to Normandy. Made with a blend of 27 herbs and spices in the Palais Bénédictine built in Fécamp, it was first produced as an elixir by Benedictine monks who mastered its secret recipe. You can get the full experience and book a tour to see the distillery housed in the Gothic Palace, a jewel of architecture, or you can purchase it in gourmet shops. Sure to be a hit back home in countless classic and modern cocktails.
Biscuits from the Biscuiterie de l’Abbaye
It’ll come as no surprise that as a region, Normandy has something of a sweet tooth. In the tiny village of Lonlay-l’Abbaye, you’ll find one of Europe’s most successful family factories of biscuits since 1964. Their delicious biscuits are made with rich, regional ingredients: butter, eggs, milk and flour from Normandy. Signature biscuits include the ‘Sablé de l’Abbaye’, the ‘Sablé d’Antan’, the ‘Trouvillais’ with apple or berries and the ‘Petit Normand’. Bring a box home for yourself or for friends.
A Véritable Cherbourg Umbrella for rainy days
The Normandy weather insists that a key item in any wardrobe is a trusty umbrella. Traditionally manufactured in Cherbourg since 1986, Le Véritable Cherbourg umbrellas are gorgeously crafted using the finest materials., and the quality and finish is second to none. With a range of models to suit everyone’s style, these umbrellas will quite literally make you feel like singing in the rain!
- Visit the Parapluie de Cherbourg website
Cider or poiré
If you are not a fan of strong liqueurs, cider is another boozy option in Normandy, with a lower alcohol level (2% to 6%), and is a sparkling treat worth well worth squeezing into your suitcase so you can savour chilled at home on a hot day. Blessed with the ideal conditions for apple growing, there are countless cider farms and small producers to visit across Normandy and to buy cider from. Another delicious treat is Normandy poiré (pear cider) from the Domfront area, made from fermented pears in a similar way to how cider is made from apples.
Guy Degrenne Cutlery
Never thought of kitchen utensils as a gift? Well, think again. The iconic, traditional and timeless Guy Degrenne cutlery is unique and 100% Made in Normandy. A specialist in the art of tableware since 1948, Guy Degrenne produces high-quality, vintage, collectible, stainless steel and silver cutlery that’s bound to impress dinner guests.
Madeleines from the BISCUITERIE Jeannette
No visit to Normandy is complete without sampling this exquisite small sponge cake in the shape of a sea-shell; madeleines from the celebrated Jeannette biscuit factory in Caen. Handmade since 1850, they are considered to be some of the finest madeleines in France and their taste has the power to recall childhood for many French people. Best enjoyed with a nice cup of tea or coffee, they are the ideal gift to share with friends back home.
- Order your Jeannette madeleines here