Calvados is French apple brandy which is usually made in Lower Normandy. Other similar versions of apple brandy are made in Somerset in Britain.
History It is thought that fermenting apples and pears to make cider dates all the way back to before the seventh century. The hand press was invented in the eight century, which made it much easier for people to press the juice out of their fruit. During the eight century cider production and some forms of calvados production became very popular in France.
The Calvados region was created after the French Revolution, but it wasn’t until 1984 that it was awarded its AOC status. The name calvados is said to have come from a ship that belonged to the Spanish Armada, El Salvador, which sunk off the coast of Normandy in 1558.
Traditional methods of producing calvados Calvados is made from distilled cider. The cider is made from specially grown applies, of which there is around two hundred varieties. Some are sweet, whereas others are tart and bitter. After the fruit has been harvested, it is pressed into juice and fermented to create dry cider. It is then distilled into eau de vie (a colourless fruit brandy). Only after it has been aged for two years in an oak cask can it be officially called calvados.
Calvados drinking rituals Calvados is often used in the tradition of ‘Le trou Normand.’ This is a small drink which is consumed between dinner courses. It is often accompanied by an apple sorbet. The idea is that it cleanses the palette and rejuvenates the appetite. It can also be served as an aperitif or in cocktails and coffee.
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