La Route du Poiré –
the Perry and Cider Route of Normandy
While cleaning one of the guest bedrooms today my eye was caught by the spectacular blossom on the fruit trees this year – there’s an apple tree outside the Cream bedroom window and there are others – pear, apple, cherry, plum – scattered around the gardens.
This reminded me that this is a great time of year to make a tour of the “Route du Poiré” or the Pear Cider Trail in the south-east of Normandy. The apple and pear orchards are full of blossom at this time of year, positively humming with honey bees doing the work of pollinating the countless flowers to produce fruit which will later be turned into perry and cider, fruit juice and calvados, aperitifs and liqueurs.
For anyone visiting the area at this time the Route du Poiré makes a great day touring by car, taking in the wonderful countryside and chancing to stop and sample last year’s fruity liquid harvest at the farm gate. Perry or cider, or maybe a drop of apple brandy for the passengers, and refreshing apple and pear juice for the driver, of course!
The Route du Poiré offers a unique landscape of pear orchards with full size trees – not the dwarf varieties that are often cultivated elsewhere – and an opportunity to meet local producers of these traditional Normandy drinks.
Part way along the Pear Trail at Barenton “La Maison de la Pomme et de la Poire” nestles in a grove surrounded by pear orchards; this visitor centre is housed in an old farmhouse, and shows the various stages of fruit cultivation and cider and calvados production as well as offering tastings.
If you’re planning to see the fruit blossom, don’t leave it too long – it’ll all be over in a few short weeks!