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>> Sunday, May 22, 2005

Calvados is making progress on the export market. This excellent digestif can help you digest a big meal as no other and is also an excellent ingredient in the kitchen (and for the cook): e.g. crêpes flambées or to give flavour to a creamy sauce. Most calvados come from the sub-region called Pays d’Auge, the very picturesque landscape between the fashionable seaside resort Deauville and the cheese town Pont l’Eveque. In Pays d’Auge calvados is double distilled, just like for cognac. And then it is stored in oak for a number of years which gives it much of its character. The youngest calvados is sold after 2 years of aging. After four years it can be called VSOP and if it has six years or more it can be called hors d’age. Sometimes you can even see 20 ans (20 years) or old vintages in small quantities. It is small and not at all tasty apples that are used for calvados (and cider). It is a mix of bitter, sweet and acidic apples (of different varieties) that are used to make a good cider that is then distilled to make the calvados. And you need a lot of apples! 20 kg of apples makes 14 litres of cider which makes 1 litre of 70 % calvados – which is then diluted to the appropriate strength.

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