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Apple brandy produced in the Normandy region of Calvados. It is the oldest French brandy (it has certainly been made since the 1500''s), and since 1942, production is strictly controlled by AOC. More than 48 apple varieties are allowed, and these are crushed and left to macerate for a month. The juice is then distilled twice.

Unlike Cognac the year of production can be put on the bottle, but a system of stars and ages is more common. 3 stars indicates a Calvados at least 2 years old; Vieux or Réserve is 3 years old; Very Old or Vielle Réserve is 4 years old; and V.S.O.P five. The best Calvados is that of Vallée d'Auge, which is the only place-name permitted. See Eau-de vie Marc de Cidre.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards.

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