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What is calvados?


Apple fans will notice that many apple recipes – from pies to preserves – often call for calvados as a way to further boost the apple flavor of the recipe. Calvados is an apple brandy from the Normandy region of France that can be used a bit like an extract can be used to give apples a little more complex flavor. Calvados starts out with fresh apples. The apples are juiced and then fermented into an apple cider, then that cider is distilled into eau de vie, a type of clear brandy that is made with any fruit that isn’t a grape. To turn it from eau de vie into Calvados, the liqueur is transferred into oak barrels and left to age for two or more years. Calvados that is aged longer typically is smoother and has a more complex flavor, with deeper notes of fruit and oak, as well as a darker color

Calvados is often called for in British and other European recipes, where it is a little more commonly used than it is in the US. In a recipe, it can be be used much like a flavored extract, and only a small amount of it needs to be added to a recipe to give it some extra flavor. For instance, you might add a tablespoon or so to an apple cake recipe to make it a little less ordinary, or you could add it to some caramelized apples before serving them with ice cream. With a small amount, most of the alcohol will burn off during cooking or baking, leaving you with just the flavor behind.

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  • Maureen
    December 13, 2012

    Not only is calvados terrific with apples, it is also excellent in pumpkin pie. We always have a bottle in the house. Sometimes I replace vanilla with calvados.

  • Robert Wemischner
    December 15, 2012

    Spent time in Normandy and stayed in a beautiful Normandy style inn on the property of one of the best Calvados producers there……had the opportunity to tour the distillery, led by Christian Drouin, the owner. Unforgettable, as is his Calvados. One of the best uses, other than imbibing it on its own by a roaring fire, after a multicourse dinner, is in the classic Norman dish Poulet aux Pommes……chicken with apples, served with a cream sauce made by using Calvados to deglaze the pan in which the chicken has been sauteed, and then adding cream (another specialty of Normandy where dairy cows abound). Delicious! Look out for his line of Calvados, one of the top ones, for sure.

  • Renee
    October 16, 2015

    I was wondering, how long will a bottle of this last? We’re not big drinkers so I would use it for mostly cooking , baking etc.

  • Nicole
    October 18, 2015

    Renee – The Calvados will last a very long time. Like many spirits, it will gradually degrade over time if it is exposed to air, but as long as you keep it tightly closed and store it in a cool place out of direct sunlight, it should last years.

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