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Calvados: France’s Apple Brandy

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Rich with the flavor of apples and warm with the heat of brandy, calvados is a love letter to the bountiful apple harvests of Normandy.

The History of Calvados

The birthplace of this luxurious apple brandy is Normandy, one of the largest producers of apples in France. Its invention was likely spurred by the abundance of apples in the area and the lack of quality drinking water. The distilled apple cider, known as eau de vie de cidre, was named calvados (not to be confused with Basque cider). Today, calvados is a protected name and can only be made in Normandy. The palpable quality and taste of Normandy’s calvados has brought its popularity far beyond the borders of France.

Image Credit: Flickr user WordRidden ( CC BY 2.0 )

What Does Calvados Taste Like?

Calvados has the smooth taste of brandy with bright, crisp notes from apple and pear. The taste of fresh fruit is more apparent in younger calvados, with aged calvados taking on a more caramelized quality with notes of tannic oak and a deeper apple flavor.

How to Drink Calvados?

The next time you have a multicourse meal, treat yourself to a few shots of calvados. Le Trou Normand or “the Norman hole” is a centuries-old tradition of pausing between courses in a meal to drink a small glass of calvados, sometimes poured over an apple or pear sorbet. The practice’s name refers to “making a hole” in the stomach for more food. The bright flavor of calvados cleanses and reawakens the palate so you can go into each course with renewed enthusiasm.

Image Credit: Irenna86 from Pixabay 

Calvados Uses

Traditionally, calvados is served straight or combined with sorbet or ice cream. It’s commonly paired with pear or apple flavors to echo the existing notes in the drink. Warm spices like cinnamon and ginger as well as creamy French vanilla help create a harmonious flavor balance. Serve your calvados with a rich dessert like our chocolate pot de crème for the ultimate indulgence.

Image Credit: bertrand71 from Pixabay 

Though not traditionally used in cocktails, calvados is a natural fit in mixed drinks. You can incorporate it into brandy cocktails – like a brandy sour or brandy alexander – or combine it with other alcoholic drinks like champagne, gin, and cider.

Feature Image: congerdesign from Pixabay 

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