Saturday, 22 November 2014

Normandy farm cider in the making

Posted by Rosie

One of the things Normandy is famous for is its apple orchards and cider.  Both my two recent Silent Sunday pictures have been apple/cider related - the first was bags of cider apples that our neighbouring farmer had picked and put ready for the mobile press to come and abstract the juice.  The second was the juice being abstracted.  Not everyone worked out what was either in the bags nor what was dripped from the press so I thought  it might be nice to show more of this very Normandy of processes.

Making Normandy Cider


1.  Apples waiting to be juiced:



2.  The farmer tipping the apples into a hopper before they head into the press to be chopped:



 3.  The whole apple goes in and it doesn't seem to matter if some are mouldy or damaged:



4.  The mobile press - apples go in on the left, up through machine where they are pulped and sent back down through the central chute:


5.  Apple pulp falling from the central chute:



6.  Two men work below the chute as the pulp needs to be placed in a series of special boards, frames and sacking.





7.  The men build up the slatted boards to which a frame and hessian sheet is added before the pulp falls in.  Once the frame is full the hessian is wrapped over the pulp and another board, frame and layer of hessian is added.



8.  The weight of the boards and pulp are used to press the juice out of the pulp which drips into a tray:



9.  The juice drains out of the tray through a filter to remove any last bits of pulp before being pumped into what-ever container the owner wants to store his juice in before turning it into cider:



This cider is purely made for the farmer and his family to drink over the coming year and will be bottles in anonymous green bottles (used year after year) and which are strong enough to withstand the fizz that will build up.   I would love to make our own cider but we must have bought the only property in Normandy that didn't have it's own apple orchard. However cider is the drink of Normandy and there is plenty for sale locally where you can chose from small artisans producers up to larger commercial brands.  You will find the taste varies greatly depending on what you buy - brut (dry) or doux (sweet), more or less fizz, clear or cloudy and even rosé.  Cider is also be distilled to make Calvados which gives the name to the department in France where we live and mixed with Calvados it makes pommeau.  This literally means apple water and no doubt based on the fact that the word for spirits in France is Eau de Vie (water of life). But do not get this more alcoholic drink confused with poiré which is pear cider which is also produced in Normandy.

Do you like cider?  I do, but then I am called Rosie so I should, shouldn't I?!  Everyone who visits the gite gets a bottle of Normandy cider in their welcome box and it almost always gets drunk!

Have you ever made your own cider?  If you have please do let us know your recipe as I believe you can make cider from bought juice and I really want to make some.  Cheers!



Lou Messugo

13 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing! It's really cool to see the fine art of making cider. I love cider and if it weren't 7 am right now, I'd consider opening a bottle :-) #AllAboutFrance

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    1. LOL ... mind you I was tasting sloe gin at 10am last Sunday ;)

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  2. I'm afraid I hate cider (over did it too may times as a teen and I don't even like apple juice/cooked apples!) I was beginning to think the process looked amazingly artisanal and unhygienic as I scrolled down, especially compared to the shiny metal vats used in wine making, so I was relieved to read that this lot was just for personal use! Poiré is basically babycham isn't it!!! Thanks for linking thi great post up to #AllAboutFrance Rosie!

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    1. I like cider bit not all ciders and prefer artisan ciders without much fizz and more flavour than commercial brands. I was drinking poiré a few evenings ago but it is so long since I drank babycham I can't remember the taste ... a google search shows though that you are right and it is in fact poiré (Perry) ... I do seem to remember it was horribly fizzy mind you.

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  3. We love Normandy cider! I had no idea how it was made, so this post was awesome and so informative! Maybe you'll just have to plant your own apply orchard and start at the beginning! Enjoy this wonderful autumn season!

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    1. We did plant an orchard when we arrived but not any cider apples ... one day though.

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  4. I'm rather fond of a nice Normandie Brut cidre. Fascinating to watch the mobile press, we have a mobile still that arrives in spring to make the eau de vie! #AllAboutFrance

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    1. Yes, the still makes the rounds too - so nice to see these old ways still continue as they have for so many years.

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  5. I love fresh apple cider! Lucky you.

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  6. I like a good cider so it's Interesting to see how it's made. I've just recently discovered pear cider too. Yum!

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    1. Many of us people of a certain age may well have drunk pear cider without realising it ... it was Babycham!

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  7. I actually have made cider, and it was (if I may say so myself) quite excellent! I wanted to carry on the tradition after my uncle who used to make cases and cases for friends and family. The trick is to use different varieties of apples, including bitter apples, to bring depth of flavor to the cider. Feel free to reach out if you need a recipe !

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