Cavorting in Calvados

Back from a break in Normandy where cold, windy weather and an excruciatingly painful knee somewhat curtailed activities. However a stop-off at a Calvados distillery refreshed the senses and taste buds, if not the knee.

My neighbour first introduced me to Calvados, surreptitiously adding it to my coffee one night after the village fete. I wasn’t looking and sipped the coffee quite happily. An hour later I had great difficulty finding my own front door despite the fact that I live opposite, just a mere handful of metres away. Since then, whenever he visits Normandy he has brought me a bottle back “straight off the farm”…er…that is to say… made privately for the makers own personal consumption.

Calvados is distilled from cider made from specially grown and selected apples. The fruit is harvested and pressed into a juice and then fermented into a dry cider. After that it is distilled into eau de vie. It can only be sold as Calvados after spending two years maturing in oak casks. The longer it is left, the smoother it becomes.

512px-Calvados_Apfel_0596

Apples for Calvados

Calva_still

A Calvados Still

It’s a versatile spirit – an aperitif, a digestif, useful in cooking (particularly to pep up pork) and in coffee.

There are a number of traditions that surround Calva. One I was told of was le trou Normand, or “the Norman hole”. This is a small drink of Calvados that you take between courses during a very long meal, supposedly to resuscitate the appetite.

But I really like the sound of an old ritual that the Norman farmers followed at the end of a meal. It is called the seven rounds of Calvados and it goes thus:

Round 1.          Le Café Calva (a tot poured into the coffee)

Round 2           La Rincette (a little nip)

Round 3           La Sur-rincette (another little nip)

Round 4           Le Gloria (yet another)

Round 5           L’Alléluia (and another)

Round 6           Le Coup de pied au cul (the kick up the backside)

Round 7           Le Coup de l’étrier (the kick in the stirrup – that is the kick out of the door and onto the horse)

It was a ritual for men only and said to leave the ladies free and happy for the evening. I can bear witness to that last point!

Couperne_Calvados

The End Product…Mmm!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Cavorting in Calvados

  1. Chin chin! Sorry to hear about the knee but I’m sure the Calvados is amply medicinal for the purpose. Your neighbour sounds like a cheeky sort …. sneaky snorts of Calvados in the coffee sounds right up my street!

  2. You are making some interesting friends!
    Love the list, though doubt whether I’d keep up, but must have been interesting to watch – I’m assuming that you’re discreetly implying that you have witnessed this.
    Hope your knee is soon better.
    I’ve just received my copy of your book. Looking forward to cracking it open this week. I hope you’ve celebrated suitably.

  3. Indeed, I have some lovely neighbours who have become good friends and who have introduced me into “secret” French ways and means. The knee is no better – either it’s the dreaded arthritis or there is something wrong with the whole alignment of the leg. I’ll know soon.
    Thank you for buying the book. I hope you enjoy it. I must say I feel quite anxious about “letting it go” and how it will be received. I’m trying hard to grow a rhinoceros hide!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s