Au pays des pommes
If Dancing Beastie has been rather reticent over the past week, it’s because life – ‘real’ life, that is, not the siren call of the interweb – has been unusually full. Over the weekend we were in Normandy for a family wedding. More of that soon. This Tuesday, suffice it to say that what other kind of tree could I show today but an apple tree?
Normandy apple cider is some of the most delicious I’ve tasted. There is nothing quite like following an enticing, hand-painted sign saying ‘Cidre’ off the main road; bumping up a farm track to a pungent half-timbered byre, where a large and taciturn farmer’s wife dusts down her hands, shoos away the dogs and chickens and produces a couple of bottles of cloudy, home-pressed cider in exchange for a few Euros. The hygiene levels may be a little suspect, but the taste is Autumn in a glass.
This weekend we were not in Calvados, the rustic heartland of Normandy, but further east on the windswept flatlands north of Rouen. Yet here, too, every farm and cottage seemed to have an orchard, where spotted brown cows grazed under trees heavy with ripe apples. On Saturday morning we drove in to our nearest town in search of hot chocolate to counteract the bitter north wind. It was a pretty nondescript little town except for two things: a church whose red, brutalist architecture was so monumentally hideous that I could not bring myself to photograph it for you, and a main street lined with crimson crab apple trees. These trees were laden to the point of showing off. ‘Well, what did you expect?’ they seemed to say to me. ‘You are in Normandy: the land of apples.’
See also: Seeing this, who could blame Eve?