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Bunkers, Trenches, and Calvados, Oh My!

Discover a misunderstood apple brandy from Normandy.

by
C. Blake Powers

Bio

October 19, 2013 - 1:00 pm
A view onto Omaha Beach

A view onto Omaha Beach

My travels around the world for and with things military are not all C-130s and MREs. In fact, quite a bit of it involves commercial travel and, since I do indeed have a passion for the good life, I make sure to make the most of the opportunities that come my way. Why eat the same old at a chain when you can eat and drink new things?While Normandy brings to mind D-Day to most Americans, in France Normandy is known for its food. The dairy products are legendary, and the butter eagerly sought by top restaurants in Paris and even here in the United States. It is also known for its apples, and the many products that come from them.

None may be more misunderstood in the U.S. than calvados, the apple brandy of Normandy. Before international trade became what it is today, it was not well known. Indeed, what I remember of it from my childhood was not very good, and in fact I have likened some of what I had to paint thinner.

There is indeed calvados that qualifies as paint thinner. It generally is only about a year old and is mostly used for cooking. As with traditional brandy, the more it ages the more rich and flavorful it becomes. While in Normandy this year, I had the occasion to tour two different distilleries and learn a good deal about this wonderful product.

For now, I would like to share with you this video tour of Chateau Breuil. There are a couple of missed cues at the start, but nothing important was lost. What you get is a better understanding of the process, and a tour that takes you back in time in terms of structures and storage. Enjoy!

C. Blake Powers has more than 25 years experience in communications, including work in high technology and biomedical journalism, public relations, and marketing. He blogs as Laughing Wolf.

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All Comments   (3)
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Chin chin!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very interesting. I will try and purchase a bottle. Lots of work goes into just one little bottle. Apples from different orchards and different years mixed together. The tannins from the wood. It all makes for complex flavor to be enjoyed. The French have a great culture.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
When it comes to food and drink, I love French culture. :) I have always enjoyed my visits to France, and am continually amazed at how welcome I've been made to feel by so many. I will note that this is particularly true in Normandy, and can't recommend visiting highly enough.

If you can find it, it is well worth getting the top tier/aged. The richness and layers of flavor put it well towards a good cognac. Enjoy!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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