Day three of my time in Normandy and my last day in this amazing region replete with food exploratory experiences, I set out on a trip that I had been planning almost a month in advance. I had researched this place quite well to identify the travel routes, the location, the timings and the offerings because come what may, I wouldn’t have missed this – after coming all the way to Normandy. (There are still a ton of other experiences that I will go after, hopefully in time to come, when I get a chance to visit this place again).
I boarded a train from Deauville, where I was based in for my short holidau and a couple of stops later, I was in Livarot. For those unaware, Livarot is a small, rather quiet town in the Calvados district in Normandy and houses the famous Graindorge cheese manufacturing company – which, manufactures the famous “Livarot” Cheese.
Cheese, usually are named after the region they were originated in. For example, Camembert hails from the Camembert region in Normandy, Pont-le-evque was crafted and still is made in Pont-L’eveque, Livarot from Livarot and so on. Same holds for many other foods too.
Livarot is a cheese prepared from Cow’s milk and Graindorge is one of the oldest producers of this particular cheese having started sometime in 1920.
The manufacturing plant is more like a factory combined with a museum I’d say. You can walk through the plant witnessing all the events that happen in the manufacture of this famous cheese (but all within a closed enclosure) and simultaneously, understand the history and story behind this cheese with visual screens placed in every part that run a video explaining everything about it.
The entry is free for anyone who wishes to explore. There are no guides or volunteers as such, but the videos on the screens are run in English as well as French – for a complete understanding. The added bonus, the videos also showcase some classic recipes that one could create using the variety of cheese’s manufactured there.
I made my way through the set-up, observing the various process whilst standing behind glass walls. The cheese curds being cut, cheese being aged, cheese being packaged, it was all there.
The walk through didn’t take much time. It was a very well placed out and yet, a simple manufacturing set-up. Of course, only the cheese makers and the people behind the scenes would be aware of the complexities involved in the process of making cheese – like the correct method of pasteurization, ensuring the particular grade of cow’s milk, taking care of the viability and non-contamination of the starter cultures needed to get the cheese curdling and more such.
Cheese making is a fairly simple process but the technical get more complex at each stage in taking care of the minor details and finally, ensuring quality control to get the perfect round of cheese.
Post my walk, I spent some time in a café they had inside the facility. The café was coupled with a small shop that sold all the variants of cheese’s manufactured here such as Livarot, Pont-L’eveque and a couple of other cheese’s local to Normandy.
There were some souvenir’s related to the place as well as recipe books that were based on the Cheese’s highlighting some amazing recipes.
It was quite a relaxing set-up, not much of a crowd, away from the town center and crowds and facing some green pastures.
I had to get a taxi to get me back to the train station and while the taxi gentleman hardly spoke English, it was amazing how we conversed a bit about travel and India and the low occurrence of Indian tourists in those parts amidst others. Well, I did think it quite nice that I chose a niche location that hardly any Indian tourists frequented. Made me consider myself privileged to learn about something that not many people would know about from where I came from.
This post however, is to give everyone an idea about this wonderful place and possibly encourage people to explore more of these hideaways and gain a bit of knowledge of how they operate and create some wonderful indigenous produce. If I can do that with my write-ups, I guess my aim would be achieved.