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APPLE CIDER: WINE OF NORMANDY

Autumn is the season for cider. In the USA it is consumed as a beverage. In the Normandy region of France, it replaces wine both as beverage and as an ingredient in many dishes.

In Waverly Root’s classic The Food of France, he writes:

Normandy has a highly individual, well developed, and imaginative cuisine. It is unusual to find such cooking in a region that produces no wine. Possibly one explanation is the cider, which is drunk throughout the meal in Normandy like wine in other parts of France, providing through the juice of the apple the tasty liquid accompaniment to food provided elsewhere by the juice of the grape.

Mr. Root adds: Most Norman cider is not as sweet as American cider, but there are limitless varieties of it.

One well-known French dish in which cider plays a role is Tripes à la mode de Caen. The tripes, onions, carrots, garlic, leeks and herbs are placed in a casserole and then apple cider is poured over these ingredients and it is cooked very slowly in an oven for 10 to 12 hours. I think beef would be delicious cooked in this manner as well.

apple cider in jugAutumn is the season for fresh apple cider at its best. The new pressing is now in supermarket produce sections and farmers markets. The brand that I have been drinking is Zeigler’s. They have been in business 75 years. Always a recommendation. And I like to support long-established USA businesses. And it is a nice flavorful cider with no sugar added.

I have been enjoying Zeigler cider both hot and chilled. Daytime temperatures here in North Texas have climbed to almost 80 degrees F. every day this week. I have been painting kitchen cabinets, and a small glass of chilled cider has been my reward for an hour or two session of hard work with a paint brush. Now that the weather is turning chillier I will be drinking apple cider hot with a dash of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick. Cider tastes so good after a long walk in the brisk autumn air.

postcard normandy architectural styles

The postcard above was sent by one of the Chic & Slim readers who visits Normandy often. Though she actually sent this postcard in the summer when her thoughts were on an upcoming trip to Paris — not apple cider that was still months away. Pictured on the postcard is the style of architecture you see in the cider producing area of France. You can read Pomme voyage: Normandy's Cider Route. The Guardian writer calls cider “autumn sunshine in a bottle.”

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