In Normandy, locals are almost always drinking their coffee with Calvados. They love this brandy so much that they are even mixing it with the sweet apple juice produced from the specific apple varieties called "cider apples". This tasty mix of apple juice and calvados gives a very smooth alcoholic drink named - pommeau. This drink should be served cold as it goes perfectly as an aperitif. There are some 70 producers of pommeau in Normandy, and you should visit at least one local distillery. Tasting pommeau at its source is more than a great experience.
Pommeau was traditionally made in the farms in Normandy, even when this alcoholic drink was strongly prohibited in France. This aperitif that contains between from 16° to 18° of pure alcohol didn't become legal until 1981. After it was commercialized, pommeau became a very appreciated drink not only in Normandy but also in many other French regions. To produce it, the Norman farmers are mixing the two-thirds of an apple juice with a one-third of calvados. They are using a technique called "mutage", which is well known for making sweet wines. After that, pommeau needs to stay for at least 14 months into the oak barrels. It was in 1991 when pommeau finally received the "appellation d’origine controlee" (AOC), a prestigious French certificate, granted to certain French geographical indications. Today, in Normandy, there are 70 producers of pommeau, and they are making more than 600 000 bottles of this drink per year.
You can have a glass of perfect pommeau at the House of Drouin. This distillery located in the traditional Norman farmhouse from in the 17th century is situated in Coudray-Rabut, a small town, not far away from Deauville, a famous French seaside resort. They are producing pommeau with thirty varieties of local apples, and the aging inside the oak barrels lasts for three years. Visits to this distillery are organized from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm. The ticket price of 2,90 euros includes a tasting of their pommeau, cider and calvados.
Pommeau, a tasty mix of apple juice and calvados, is an alcoholic drink mainly used as an aperitif that should be served cold. But, this sweet and fruity drink goes perfectly with some food such as foie gras, cheese or even melons and apple pies. You can also use pommeau in the kitchen. This drink can perfume meat and shellfish sauces nicely. In Normandy, locals are also using pommeau while preparing their traditional Norman tart (the Tarte Normande), which is a delicious pastry filled with apples, slices of almonds and sugar.
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