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Calvados: Apple Brandy

by Spicie Foodie on March 4, 2013

Calvados: Apple Brandy by Spicie Foodie

Red wine is perhaps my favorite alcoholic drink. By no means am I a connoisseur of fine wines, I just know what I personally like.

One frigid night while trying to escape the winter winds in Bratislava, Slovakia, we made our way to the hotel’s lobby. Instead of a glass of red my husband suggested I order some cognac to warm up quicker. This was the first time I’d ever tasted cognac. I swirled my glass, more out of habit than proper etiquette, and poked my nose in for a smell. Immediately I knew that I was going to love cognac as much as I do wine. A small sip, then the warm swallow. Wow! It was strong but I loved the warmth and taste the it left in my mouth and down my throat. Cognac like wine is made from grapes and comes from the Cognac region of France, it is also the best known type of brandy.

Calvados: Apple Brandy by Spicie Foodie

As I took the last sip of Cognac I looked at my husband and declared that I loved cognac — but to be sure I would need another glass. (wink)

A few years ago while vacationing in Basse-Normandie (or Lower Normandy) we got to sample a famous brandy from the region called Calvados, it too goes by the same name. Calvados is a fruit brandy distilled from apples. It is made through a double distillation of cider then aged in French oak barrels. The apples used can range from very sweet to tart and bitter varieties.

Our first sampling or introduction to calvados was thanks to a great waiter from a restaurant in Trouville-sur-Mer. He suggested an apéritif while we explored the menu and decided on our dinner menu. As he served our calvados he went on to explain that it was a special apple brandy from the region. Very proudly, he said that a visit to the region was not complete without a few glasses of calvados. Who are we to argue with him, so we asked for a couple of glasses.

We brought our snifters in close for a smell. Calvados smells like apples and a tad sweet, but also like the alcohol of brandy or cognac. The color is golden and as it ages it turns a darker brown. The initial taste is apples, then a warm brandy taste, and the last undertones are of apples. Well, at least that is the taste to my untrained palate.

Calvados: Apple Brandy by Spicie Foodie

If you don’t like the strong taste of cognac or brandy you may not like calvados. Yes, the apple tones are there but it is not as smooth as drinking cider. I happen to love the strong and warming effects of cognac and brandy, so to me calvados tastes fantastic! You may also think how much punch can apples carry anyway — beaucoup, a lot, so take your time with this apple drink. Sip and enjoy it. The best way to enjoy calvados is snuggled up with a good book.

Calvados: Apple Brandy by Spicie Foodie

Santé!

Calvados can also be used in cooking, here are some great recipes to try.
- Braised Chicken with Apples and Calvados by Food & Wine
Toffee Apple & Calvados Pancakes by BBC Good Food
The Normand Fizz | Apple Ginger Calvados Cocktail by Gourmand In The Kitchen
Braised Pork Loin with Calvados, Cider, and Apples by Phoo-d
Calvados Camembert with walnut salad by Gourmantine’s Blog

Calvados: Apple Brandy by Spicie Foodie

 

Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide to Better Photos, Photography eBook by Spicie Foodie

 

in Drinks,European

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa March 4, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Gorgeous shots! I’ve never had Calvados, but I bet it tastes amazing.

Cheers,

Rosa

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2 Spicie Foodie March 5, 2013 at 1:36 AM

It does taste really good, maybe you can try it sometime. Thanks Rosa!

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3 Laura (Tutti Dolci) March 5, 2013 at 12:25 AM

When something is delicious, one always needs one more bite or glass to be sure ;). I’ve never tried calvados but I’ve heard it’s amazing – now I want to try it!

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4 Spicie Foodie March 5, 2013 at 1:37 AM

You’ll have to go buy some soon. Thanks Laura:)

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5 Evelyne@cheapethniceatz March 5, 2013 at 2:43 AM

Oh that sounds like a lovely Calvados. I think people are used to ahvgin trued the cheap stuff and fear appreciating the good stuff. I rarely get a chance but I like a good cognac, or eau de vie, etc. Now I would love a glass at this moment :-)

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6 Spicie Foodie March 5, 2013 at 12:41 PM

It’s too good Evelyne, lol!:) I agree and it’s nice for people to splurge now and then on the really good stuff. Cheers!

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7 RavieNomNoms March 5, 2013 at 6:57 PM

I have never even heard of these! I bet they are tasty

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8 Spicie Foodie March 5, 2013 at 10:53 PM

Hope you can try it sometime Ravie — it is so good!

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9 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com March 5, 2013 at 8:53 PM

I love the styling! So dark and mystical for a intriguing cocktail :)

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10 Spicie Foodie March 5, 2013 at 10:53 PM

Thanks Kiran!

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11 Victoria of Flavors of the Sun March 6, 2013 at 1:06 AM

When I lived in Paris many years ago, I learned to love Calvados–and have never gotten over that love. Nice to be reminded. Gorgeous photos!

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12 Spicie Foodie March 6, 2013 at 6:06 PM

That’s great Victoria, glad to hear. Thank you!

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13 Vicki Bensinger March 6, 2013 at 1:26 AM

I use Calvados when I make apple cake and in other recipes that use apples. I like to throw in a sash for added flavor. Oddly enough I’ve never tried it straight up. Beautiful photos.

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14 Spicie Foodie March 6, 2013 at 6:07 PM

You should take a taste next time Vicki;) Thanks!

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15 Eha March 6, 2013 at 4:23 AM

Oh, Nancy: I think I tasted Calvados quite accidentally the same way and it just SO suited! Since then [and that is quite some years ago!] when I see a really well-stocked bar after dinnner I’ll whisper to the host ‘You would not have Calvados, would you?’. Also use it in quite a few of my Loire Valley dishes: like it with veal, for instance. Thank you for making me smile!!

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16 Spicie Foodie March 6, 2013 at 6:08 PM

We have another thing in common Eha:) I haven’t tasted it in veal — yet. Thanks!

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17 Ramona March 6, 2013 at 11:39 PM

We are having some gusty cold winds here too… pass the brandy. :)

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18 Spicie Foodie March 7, 2013 at 1:54 AM

That’s too bad, it’s just starting to get nice here. But I can still drink this brandy:)

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19 Liz March 7, 2013 at 12:19 AM

Oh, I adore Calvados, too, but I mostly use it for cooking. When we were in Normandy this summer, one of our best meals included an apple tiramisu made with Calvados. I hope to recreate it one day…so incredibly delicious! Your photos are amazing….

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20 Spicie Foodie March 7, 2013 at 1:56 AM

Wow, an apple tiramisu made with Calvados? That sounds amazing! Thanks Liz!

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21 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen March 9, 2013 at 7:07 AM

I love it too and it’s been too long since I’ve had some, time to remedy that!

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22 Spicie Foodie March 10, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Enjoy your calvados!

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