This is a guest blog, written by Kathy Morton, who organizes culinary tours in France. A heartfelt thanks to her for sharing this interesting post.
Normandy has miles and miles of apple and pear orchards. In the
springtime, blossoms perfume the air and provide stunning views of the
countryside. In the fall, the scent of ripe juicy fruits is undeniable.
Most apples and pears air plucked from the trees, but some bitter
pears are purposely left until the drop to the ground, carpeting the
area known as the Bocage Domfrontais. Because this fallen
fruit – an unusually tart and fragile pear – is quick to spoil, it is
swooped up from the ground as soon as possible to be pressed into juice.
The result? One of France’s most unusually distinctive drinks: Le Poiré. A glass of Poiré, or “pear champagne,” makes a perfect aperitif before a meal.
Described in 1607 as “wine made from pears,” golden-hued Poiré
is sometimes known as “perry.” Light and fruity, this effervescent
drink has low alcohol content and, like champagne, can be enjoyed before
and during a meal. In Normandy, Poiré is made much the same
way as the local apple cider, but unlike apples which are stored for a
time to make the cider, the ripe pears that have fallen off the trees
are pressed as soon as they are gathered.
A journey along the Route du Poiré entices travelers to
stop for visits and observe the fruit-bearing trees, most of which are
over 30 years old. A visit to one of the local producers such as the
award-winning family of LeMorton – who has been producing poiré for
generations, renders a first-hand look at the method of production and a
unique opportunity to taste the exceptional libation. Visits are
always followed by une dégustation, a tasting of the final product. Michelin-starred restaurants and upscale markets like Fauchon carry LeMorton’s exceptional Poiré.
It’s always fun to go to the source of a product and meet the local
producers. Next time you find yourself in Normandy, a tasting of this
local product is a must!