Hard cider

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Origin, diffusion, fabrication, alcohol, Bottled cider, Apple Jack or Apple Brandy, Recipe 1 – Hard cider and seaside

Peasants have always prepared beverages from fruits: apple, pear, cherry, plum…. Organic hard cider, prepared from the juice of apples grown healthfully, is one of these beverages.

Origin  Hard cider came from Spain and the Basque Regions, but some food historians think it was well known since Antiquity.

Diffusion  In France, it came to Normandy and Brittany starting in the 12th century. It is also produced in Great Britain, but with higher alcohol content than in France.

Fabrication  Cider is made with the juice from several varieties of apples. Then this juice is fermented to became hard cider. Apples are harvested when mature and then the juice is pressed. The juice ferments naturally, from its own sugars, without anything added, then it’s clarified, eventually filtered, and bottled.

Alcohol  In France, « Sweetened cider – cidre doux » contains less than 3 % alcohol and « unsweetened cider – cidre brut » contains at least 5 % alcohol.

« Bottled cider – Cidre bouché »  It’s a kind of cider which conserves some sugar in the bottle, so with a special flavor and sparkle. So it needs to be firmly closed in the bottle with a cork, like champagne.

« Apple Jack or Apple Brandy – Calvados »  The name Calvados comes from the name of a part of Normandy in France. It’s a kind of brandy prepared with different hard cider at least one year old. The brandy matures in oak barrels. You can drink it as digestif, with coffee or use it in culinary speciality with meat from Normandy, and in cakes.

Recipe 1 – Hard cider and seaside  You are on the seaside. You breathe the vivifying air. Seagulls cry, go fly, come back, fish and cry again. You contemplate the sea, strange and infinite. And you remember Baudelaire’s poetry :
« Free man, you’ll always love the sea !
The sea is your mirror ; you contemplate your soul
In the infinite unfolding of its waves… »
The Man and the Sea
Small salted droplets give a savage taste to your skin. The wind plays with your hair and caress or keep cold your head without any hair… It’s a magical moment. Elements seem invincible. You imagine the great iceberg shunting in a distant and glacial ocean, auk and penguin colonies, roaring and breaking waves. To warm up again after such travel, imaginary travel can be true too, you savour a lot of buckwheat pancakes with a hard cider bowl.
Farther, the sea recedes, keeping the secrets of its multiple shipwrecks. Surprised, seagulls are looking at another bird It’s training to fly always more quickly, higher. Remember this beautiful story, some pictures, a film, some music……