Updated on 18 January 2021
Reading time: 2 minutes
In Normandy, all of the cheeses boasting the coveted AOP quality label are also villages – Camembert, Livarot, Pont-l’Evêque and Neufchâtel. Venture along Normandy’s AOP cheese route, visit these villages and enjoy some cheese tasting along the way!
AOP stands for Appellation d’Origine Protégée (protected designation of origin), a strict quality label not given to just anyone that legally guarantees the product in question was prepared in the place specified on the packet. Two thirds of Normandy’s cheeses come from cows put out to pasture on local grassland. Village mayors, producers and manufacturers, restaurants, dairies and creameries all ensure a special experience along the AOP cheese route, known in French as the Route des fromages AOP de Normandie. Find out about producer know-how, enjoy guided tours, see how the animals are looked after, learn how cheese is made and most importantly, buy products from the farm shop to take home!
There are so many dairies to visit, but we don’t want to milk the subject! Sorry, cheesy joke.
Some cheesy facts
- Neufchâtel is the oldest of the Normandy cheeses. In fact, during the Hundred Years’ War, the dairy maidens in the Pays de Bray would offer English soldiers this cheese in the shape of a heart as a token of their affection, hence its shape
- Marie Christine Harel, born in 1761 in the village of Crouttes (which means ‘crust’) is said to be the inventor of Camembert cheese
- There are over 600 farms producing AOP cheeses in Normandy