Calvados: A true savoir-faire
Calvados, in basic terms, is French apple brandy and only from the Normandy region. Calvados has a timeline that looks something like this: fruit to cider to Calvados. It starts out with fresh apples – more than 200 varieties – the apples are juiced and fermented into apple cider and that cider is then distilled into eau de vie. To turn it from eau de vie into Calvados, the liqueur is transferred into oak barrels and left to age for at least two years.
Calvados is more than just a French apple brandy, it is a protected appellation for spirits. The production and labelling of it is protected and regulated by laws. The three types of Calvados are broken down into sub-appellations:
- AOC CALVADOS – two years minimum aging, column distilled – lighter body, more efficient distillation.
- AOC PAYS D’AUGE – two years minimum aging, double pot still distilled – heavier, full bodied, and more subtle flavour.
- AOC DOMFRONTAIS – three years minimum aging, must be at least 30% pears.
Calvados can bring on so many sensations; spice, cinnamon, mintiness, earthiness, clarity, purity, and citrus, all whilst the apple aromas and flavours burst through in all its complexity. To understand the different types, Calvados that is aged longer typically is smoother and has a more complex flavour, with deeper notes of fruit and oak, as well as a darker colour.
Calvados is very versatile, drink as an aperitif, on the rocks, in cocktails or in flambée recipes. Be sure to experiment as this is a fantastic spirit!
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