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Calvados is a French apple brandy made from cider apples. The drink is named after the region in Normandy where it is produced. It has a strong apple flavour and is often served as an after-dinner drink or as a digestif. Calvados is made by distilling cider or apple wine, and the resulting spirit is then aged in oak barrels for several years. The longer the Calvados is aged, the more mellow and smooth it becomes. It can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks, or in cocktails and is commonly used in cooking, particularly in dishes that feature apples or other fruits.

The Calvados region is located in Basse-Normandie (Lowe Normandy), where apple cider was brewed perhaps as early as the 8th century. Calvados is one of France’s best-loved brandies, though unlike the grape brandies Cognac and Armagnac, Calvados is distilled from cider.
The drink is distilled from a number of different apple varieties (over 200 are legally permitted), and it is not uncommon for there to be over 100 different varieties used to make a single Calvados. A combination of sweet, tart and inedible bitter apples are used to attain the right balance of flavour. Calvados spirit is aged for a minimum of two years in oak casks, though it is not unusual for it to be aged for substantially longer – often decades. It is often enjoyed as part of “le trou Normand”, in which a small glass of Calvados is taken between courses in a meal, often with sorbet, as a palate cleanser.

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