October 20, 2020
Today is evidently National Dessert Day, and we'll take any excuse to do a little baking! We have featured tons of desserts in our blog…Read This Post
Normandy is famed for many gastronomic delights, from its cheese and dairy products, to its meat and mussels. It is not known as a serious wine-producing region, but when it comes to beverages, the apple reigns supreme! The Basse-Normandie region has been rife with apple orchards since the time of Charlemagne, and the making of Calvados apple brandy and cider has been going on for many centuries.
Calvados is not made from a single apple variety. Indeed, producers will purposefully cultivate and select many—as many as 200!—different varieties to intensify the complexity of the brandy. So sweet, bitter, tart, even inedible varieties are chosen. The apples are pressed into a juice that is then fermented into a dry cider and distilled in either a single or double distillation. The result is a strong, clear spirit, which becomes amber as it is aged in oak casks: by Calvados AOC regulation, for at least 2 years, although often it is aged longer. Its designation will be an indication of its age.
How is Calvados consumed? In Normandy, it is the key player in le trou Normand, or “the Norman hole,” in which a small sip of calvados is taken between the courses of a very long, multi-course meal. It is sometimes accompanied by sorbet, and is said to revive the appetite. It can also be used as an aperitif, digestif, in cocktails, or in coffee.
If you search the internet, there are a plethora of Calvados-based cocktails, but here are a couple we found delectable!
(created by famed bartender Colin Field of the the Ritz Paris’s Bar Hemingway)
Muddle the mint in a highball glass, then fill with ice cubes. Add apple juice and calvados, top with champagne, stir.
Want to learn more? Consider a French cooking vacation in Normandy, where you will have the chance to enjoy Calvados while tasting authentic Norman cuisine.
Try these recipes from Normandy:
By Peg Kern
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best cooking vacations.