At Pair we delight in pairs. It was the pairing of food and drink, which led to the famous ‘trou Normand’ - translated literally as ‘the Norman hole’. Often in Normandy, a small shot of young Calvados is taken quickly between courses during a meal in order to enliven the palate. The effect is unusual and invigorating; a burst of apple and pear flavour in the mouth with a particular warmth enveloping the torso a few seconds later.
France retains an abundance of traditional orchards where low environmental impact production and a keen interest in biodiversity has meant that an estimated eight hundred varieties of apples can be found. That same care for the ‘terroir’ has also protected around two hundred varieties of pears. It is common practice to plant pear and apple trees together throughout Normandy. The cider and Calvados produced from these orchards will, typically, have a large percentage of apple and a smaller percentage of pear.
Except that isn’t the whole story. If we follow in the footsteps of King Richard ‘Coeur de Lion’ to the ancient town of Domfront and if we stand in that magnificent castle overlooking the orchards which spread in all directions, we can see that pear trees dominate. In this area the 2016 harvest must, by law, be from orchards containing a minimum of 25% pear trees, up from 15% in 2015. The Calvados itself must contain at least 30% pear, with most producers in the area exceeding that stipulation by some margin.
The cider is distilled into an ‘eau-de-vie’ then matured in barrels for a minimum of three years until it attains an orangy to copper hue with a wonderfully refined nose delivering anything from spices, to cooked fruits, to almonds, to caramel, but always with a freshness of palate and that perfectly crafted aromatic embodiment of the pear. This is a drink to savour, poured at room temperature into a slightly warm glass.
Whether your chosen Calvados has only 10% pear or 90% pear, we have no doubt that you will drink this perfect fruit pairing with great pleasure.