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!