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A Multi-sensory Calvados Experience

There’s a new tourist attraction in Pont-l’Évêque, which is known for its strong-scented (pungent), soft, pale-yellow cheese. It’s a multi-sensory experience devoted to Calvados apple brandy, which has a much nicer smell. It’s the multi-sensory Calvados Experience!

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Multi-sensory experience devoted to Calvados: The Calvados Experience

In the heart of the Calvados department of Normandy is the town, “Pont-l’Évêque”. A cheese has been given the town’s name and it is often considered to be one of the 5 stinkiest cheeses in France. It’s my all-time least favourite cheese. It smells really bad but fortunately, doesn’t taste that way. But good news! Pont-l’Évêque may no longer have a negative association to the stinky cheese. I definitely got my apple fix at this new sight called, the “Calvados Experience”. 

Apples in the Calvados Experience boutique-multi-sensory experience devoted to Calvados
Credit: @Calvados Experience
Credit: @Calvados Experience

France has a growing list of museums and attractions which focus on wine and spirits.  Bordeaux has La Cité du Vin. Paris has Les Caves du Louvre. Each has interactive displays and a tasting at the end.

The Calvados Experience tour takes you on a multi-sensory journey, exposing you to the regions, history, and production of Calvados starting with the simple apple. Your journey is like a walk through movie sets where you learn about the times of the Vikings to the present-day distillation. Four types of apples are used in the distillation: acidic, bitter, bittersweet and sweet.

Credit: @Calvados Experience
Credit: @Calvados Experience
Credit: @Calvados Experience
Credit: @Calvados Experience

One of my favourite experiences was walking on a pond of apples floating in the water:

Apples floating below (Credit: @Calvados Experience)
Apples floating below (Credit: @Calvados Experience)

Calvados Tasting

The tasting room at Calvados Experience (J. Chung)
Calvados tasting at the Calvados Experience (J. Chung)
Calvados tasting at the Calvados Experience (J. Chung)

At the end of the tour, there is a tasting bar. Your ticket includes a tasting of 2 glasses of Calvados brandy: one young (aged 2 years) and one old (aged 6 years). It’s an acquired taste and very powerful. There are hints of apple and not as pronounced as in the related apéritif called Pommeau.

Pommeau Tasting

I also paid an extra 4 Euros to sample 3 different types of Pommeau (which is made with 1 part Calvados and 2 parts apple juice):

Pommeau tasting at the Calvados Experience (J. Chung)
Pommeau tasting at the Calvados Experience (J. Chung)
  • Fleurs de Pommes—young and fruity
  • Pommeau—regular; dark and classic
  • Crème (de Pommeau)—like Irish cream but with a stronger Calvados brandy flavour
Calvados Experience boutique (J. Chung)
Calvados Experience boutique (J. Chung)

The boutique carries a wide selection of Calvados French apple brandy and a small selection of Pommeau from a variety of local producers.

Cost: 14.5 Euros
Notes:

  1. Excellent reviews on TripAdvisor
  2. Photography and videotaping are not allowed. Thank you to Calvados Experience for providing photos of the exhibits. (I paid my own admission fee).
  3. Children are welcome to take the tour. At the end, they are provided with apple juice.
  4. It is very difficult trying to find Pommeau outside of Normandy but easier to find Calvados. So, when in Normandy, stock up!

Click here to see the latest prices:
Address: Route de Trouville, 14130 Pont-l’Évêque

A Multi-sensory experience devoted to Calvados apple brandy

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2 Comments

  1. Keith Van Sickle says:

    I once bought Calvados in Normandy for a friend. The shopkeeper let me taste four different kinds so I could decide what was best, ranging from 2 years old to 12. It was interesting to taste the differences but boy, is Calvados strong! I was a little wobbly when I walked out of the shop.

    1. Yes, it’s STRONG stuff. Maybe that’s why I prefer Pommeau—more apple and not as strong.