Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Normandy, Side Note

Calvados, Craft Beer, and French Wine

Michel Peron, the enthusiastic owner of Au Fin Goussier
Most people know about French wine.  The French have a couple of thousand years of experience growing grapes and making wine.  There are lots of areas in France that grow grapes for wine and many different regions.  In France, wines and brandies (which is distilled wine) are named after the regions and that they come from.  It is in this spirit (pun intended), that I write this blog installment, which does not encompass a day of the journey, but is rather a side entry about one of the many wonderful aspects of France.
As Joseph and I walked through the ancient streets of Bayeux, we happened across Au Fin Goussier, a wine shop owned and enthusiastically run by Michel Peron.  Here are links:

If there was such a thing as a Ph.D. in aromas, Michel would absolutely have one.  He is so knowledgeable about each region and his selection of wines is vast.  We made his shop a regular stop during our short time in Bayeux.  He also had local craft beers, which was our initial attraction to his "Cave a Vin" or wine cellar.  We certainly sampled those, but we also took advantage of his offer to a wine tasting.  Michel has individual maps of each wine region and can show you where the grapes were grown and the differences between the wines from the different regions.  He gave us a restaurant recommendation, to a place that he supplies the wines to, and it was excellent.  We paired our meal with the wine we preferred in our tasting with Michel.  Incidentally, everything was reasonably priced also.  
Our other discovery was Calvados, the apple brandy made in Normandy; specifically the Calvados region, which is where the bulk of the fighting in the Battle of Normandy occurred. Many a GI discovered this brandy as well during their fighting across Normandy.  Needless to say,  they availed themselves whenever they found it in cellars and there were many instances of "happy" GIs amidst the campaign (I know, hard to believe, right?).
Don't let the term "Apple Brandy" throw you off.  It is not sweet but has a delightful bouquet of apple and is a strong brandy that varies in smoothness with age.  The older, the smoother (pricier).  You can get Calvados in the USA, many wine and liquor stores carry it.  Give it a try!  It really is unique and a nice change from other Brandies.   
Michel, showing the region where the wine we were tasting came from
He has dozens of these maps, all of them particular regions in Fran


Calvados, the apple brandy from the Calvados region of Normandy.  Craft, local beers (above) from various areas of Normandy.

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