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Our Lady Collegiate church in Vernon
A whole site dedicated to this monumeent (in English)
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Vernon half-timbered houses
A whole site about our numerous old houses (In French only, sorry !)
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Vernon Giverny Website auf deutsch

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Pass the mouse over the photos for further information
The Old Mill in Vernon
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Monet's house and garden at Giverny
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The XIIth c. castle keep in Vernon
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Visits, indeed, but there are so many other things to do in Vernon
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Walking and cycling around Vernon
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Museums in Vernon (paintings by Monet) and Giverny
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A walk in the streets of Giverny
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The water lily pond at Giverny
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Tourelles castle in Vernon
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Farm and local Norman products


Every region has its own food specialties and its traditional cooking that were born of the imagination -sometimes the genius- of men and women who knew how to use the local products and resources of their country . Norman cooking , one of the most famous in France, is almost a form of art. This comes, of course, from the diversity and quality of our local farm products

Breeding, agriculture, cider-making are traditional activities in the Norman countryside. However in the last years other productions have been added, - perhaps not so typically Norman, such as 'foie gras', which the know-how of our farmers has brought to excellence.

The area around Vernon and Giverny, gateway to Eure and Normandy, is proud of its local farm products which contribute in their way to making your stay here pleasant , in which history, tourism and cuisine harmoniously mingle.


Apple trees are among the most traditional features of the Norman landscape. However apples come from the West, perhaps even from South western France and they were introduced here in the Middle Ages : The kings of Navarre, who were also Counts of Evreux in the 14th century, used to grow apple trees around Pamplona and Biscay.


At the time, people enjoyed drinking cervisia (barley beer) first of all and wine - even local wine although it was of very poor quality. Vine used to be grown on the hills along the Seine and the Eure, mainly on estates belonging to abbeys . Only after the 15th century, however, did cider eventually become known as the 'official ' drink in Normandy.

Normandy would not be what it is without the various apple-related products among which cider brandy, - often known as 'calvados' and familiarly as 'la goutte'(= nip or drop)- Also to be tried is 'pommeau' an appetizer made with this 'goutte' or also apple juice jellies.

How is cider made ?
How is calvados made ?

Cattle breeding and milk production, although not as developed here as in other parts of Normandy, also provide excellent products. For instance, do you know milk jam? Made with 83% of farm milk and only 17% sugar, very creamy , it can be spread on bread or pancakes, gourmets eat it with a spoon or add it to their coffee or tea to take the place of both milk and sugar.

Cattle breeding and milk production, although not as developed here as in other parts of Normandy, also provide excellent products. For instance, do you know milk jam? Made with 83% of farm milk and only 17% sugar, very creamy , it can be spread on bread or pancakes, gourmets eat it with a spoon or add it to their coffee or tea to take the place of both milk and sugar.




How about beer? Several excellent local micro-breweries produce Norman beer in the old-style tradition. Hotteterre has been one of these craft breweries (about 20km south of Vernon) since 1975

Noyau de Vernon is a liqueur made from cherry-stones. This fruit grows in abundance on the hills of the left bank of the Seine, downstream from Vernon.

Originally made in Vernon, later in a near-by village, this liqueur, like others, has now met with a general loss of interest.

Quite a pity because it is an excellent local product which is drunk with much (or too much) moderation.
However true connoisseurs know where to find, taste and enjoy it.

 


 

Norman farm producers welcome you

Farm made products for sale, visits and demonstration of agricultural and cider-making equipment, farm meals and snacks


 

La Ferme des Ruelles 

Monsieur Galmel - Ferme des Ruelles - 27 510 Tilly
 Tél. 02 32 52 74 61 ou 06 09 43 21 32 - Fax : 02 32 53 46 71
   http://perso.wanadoo.fr/fermedesruelles
  michel.galmel@wanadoo.fr

Visit : You will be shown around and taste farm-made products such as cider (Silver medal, 2005, 2010) and apple juice.

The Farm Shop offers these products as well as eggs, honey, jellies or jams and many other

Closed on Sundays. Groups with prior arrangement



Above, Monsieur Galmel at work in the cellar and a view of the apple orchard

The farm des Ruelles also offers Bed and Breakfast 
Click here for info


To go there: direction of Gisors / Beauvais and turn left shortly after the top of the hill (Signpost: Tilly) 6 km from Vernon


Le Verger de Giverny 

1 rue Ste Geneviève - La Chapelle St Ouen 27620 Bois Jérôme

 Tél. 02 32 51 29 36 - Fax 02 32 5117 44
 
verger-giverny@wanadoo.fr

Visit : Mr. and Mrs Couturier will show you around the cider farm. They will explain how cider is made and cider brandy distilled. Free cider and brandy tasting

Farm shop with local farm products : home-made jam and ginger bread, cheese, pies, cider, cider brandy ( la goutte !), apple juice, etc.



Light meals and snacks at the farm are served on the open air terrace in fine weather or in a large rustic room.
Groups with prior arrangement.
Individual visitors: Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday 15h - 18h

Open from April 1st to October 31st, from 10h30 to 19h. Closed on Mondays.

To go there : from Giverny, drive up rue Blanche Hoschedé , i.e. past the Village Hall and continue straight on. Signposted from the next important cross-road in the middle of the plain. 2,5 km from Giverny

 

Le pressoir d'or

Saint Jean de Frenelles - 27150 Boisemont 

 Phone :02 32 69 41 25 - Fax: 02 32 69 43 17
   www.pressoirdor.com
  
earldore@wanadoo.fr



Click HERE to  read more about Le Pressoir d'or

Beautiful 17th and 18th century  buildings, typical of local farms with half-timbered buildings scattered on 3 hectares.. One visits the rose and the kitchen gardens and the orchards (19,000 trees on 28 hectates [ approx. 55 acres]). 

This producer has won several medals in various agricultural shows.

Farm shop : (particularly cider and apple apple-based products).

Opening hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 14h00 - 18h00.
Monday, Thursday and Friday : 9h00 - 12h00

To go there : Direction of Gisors. At Les Tilliers (traffic lights), turn left onto N14 towards Fleury / Rouen. Drive another 10km to Frenelles - Boisemont. 31 km from Vernon.


 

Brasserie Hotteterre

12, rue Hotteterre - 27750 La Couture Boussey - France 

 Tel : 02 32 36 76 06 - Fax : 02 32 26 16 40
   http://www.brasserie-hotteterre.com/
   jeremie@brasserie-hotteterre.com


In March 2000, Daniel tTjiebaut, farmer, began producing beer in  his former stable, this renwing an old, almost forgotten beer-making tradition in Normandy. He called it after a local - but famous - famous 17th c musician, Hotteterre.
Visit
of the brewery and free tasting for groups on prior appointment 
Visits are temporarily suspended during improvement works

The homebrew Shop sells pale or brown ales. Neither filtered nor sterilised, they retain their natural aromas.

Open Monday - Friday 9h30-12h30 and 14h30-18h00
Shop  and tasting room open only by appointment during improvement works

From Vernon, drive to Pacy sur Eure then over D836 to Bueil (and Ivry la Bataille). In Graennes, turn right after the river bridge and left very soon after (D69) to La couture Boussey. The farm is on your left in the middle of the village, about 100 m before before the church.

The brewery hop-garden

Bed & breakfast : Brasserie Hotteterre and ferme des Luthiers also offer four comfortable housed in the former sheepfold (Info here)


 

Open Farm Day "Welcome to the Farm"


Most of these local producers are members of the "Welcome to the Farm" association and they take part in Open Farm Day when they organise detailed visits of the farm, often accompanied by demonstrations and videos.

Open Farm Day of the"Welcome to the Farm" Association :

   Chambre d'Agriculture de l'Eure : 02.32.78.80.50
  www.normandiealaferme.com and www.agri-eure.com


Le Pressoir d'Or's farm products

Where to find local and farm products in Vernon

Markets

Wednesday morning : food market - Place de Gaulle
 Saturday (all day - food market : morning only) - Place de Gaulle and near-by streets..
    
The Saturday market is particularly well provided.
Farm, local and crafts products.  In front  of the church, from 4pm until 10 pm, every 2nd and 4th Friday ( until the end of september)



 

Cider making


Good cider implies good apples.

Traditional cider making starts with the blending of several types of apples (usually three: sweet, acid and sour) that are washed and then crushed into pulp before the juice is extracted in a cider press.



The freshly pressed juice is then run into barrels, in the traditional method or placed in glass fibre storage tanks, which are far easier to clean than the old wooden pipes..



Apples are crushed and pressed (18th century pictures). The equipment has changed but not the methods 

Fermentation starts and continues for about six months, during which time apple juice slowly becomes cider.
In high output commercial operations the juice is treated with sulphur dioxide to inhibit natural wild yeasts, and is then fermented with added pure yeast cultures. This process, however does not concern our local producers who still use the traditional method.
In traditional cider-making, within 3 to 6 days, a natural mass of pulp, mashed skin and cellulose floats up to the surface forming a "chapeau brun" ( brown hat)
The liquid is then drawn off, thus providing partially clarified must (unfermented juice).

Once natural fermentation has started, the wild yeasts that are naturally present in apples slowly transform the juice into cider. Various conditions ( temperature, first of all) are required to make the fermentation as slow as possible so as to develop aromas.

This fermentation converts sugars to ethanol ( alcohol) and carbon dioxide. The more the fermentation lasts, the more the amount of alcohol increases and sugar decreases.

Once the cider has reached the desired amount of sugar or alcohol, fermentation is stopped : thus a producer can obtain sweet cider at first, half-dry cider a few days later and finally dry cider.

(By the way, this technique, the Charmat process -often used to produce sparkling wines- is used in France to produce a cider that is highly carbonated and more like an apple wine than traditional English cider which is completely flat and may be cloudy. )

Finally several types of cider can be blended (a very usual process in champagne making for instance) and after being filtered once again the cider is ready for bottling.


Cider brandy (eau de vie and calvados) making

Calvados is the spirit resulting from distillation of cider; i.e. a fermented, apple-based liquid.
Distillation is a simple physical process based on the fact that alcohol and water boil - and so evaporate - at different temperatures, water at 100 degrees C, and alcohol around 80°C

Two types of stills can be used :

  • The traditional 'pot still' requires the cider to be distilled twice making it possible to concentrate and focus the aromas and flavours and to craft each production run carefully.

  • Continuous or 'column stills' utilise copper or stainless steel columns and are used by most large scale producers although the process loses some flavouring elements.

In both cases, the cider is heated in the boiler. The vapour, containing the alcoholic properties being released first, can then be trapped, cooled, and condensed to an alcoholic liquid.

The spirit obtained both at the beginning and the end of distillation (called 'têtes' and 'queues', heads and tailings) is discarded as being too low quality, only the 'heart' is kept with an alcohol content of about 70%. 6 kg of apples yield 5 litres of cider, which in turn will yield a 70cl bottle of cider brandy with 40% alcohol content (80 proof).

The 'goutte' (remember this is its local familiar name) now has to remain in oak barrels for years so as to allow individual characteristics to develop and to soften and harmonise the flavours.

Finally several types of apple brandy can be blended to obtain a complexity of flavours absent from a brandy from a single distillation.