|MADE IN FRANCE INTERNATIONAL: The French luxury magazine|
In France, an average eight kilos of fruit are required to make just one liter of spirit. In certain countries 500 grams of fruit are considered about enough not counting all the sugar and artificial additives which are strictement interdits in France. French distillation standards are the toughest in the world, which means that exports sometimes suffer but that connoisseurs can be reassured On supermarket shelves throughout the world, French fruit based brandies and spirits (or eaux de vie) are consequently scarse and expensive.
Fortunately for the French drinks trade, monks in France have not always been as abstemious as they perhaps should have been and our monastic brethren have even played an important rote in the creation of new beverages, including champagne with Dom Perignon. The same goes for spirits. In the fourteenth century a monk in the East of France was looking for a cure for cholera and had the bright idea of burning the must from cherries. And so cherry brandy was spirited into being. In the eighteenth century the liquor was given the name "kirsch" (an Alsatian dialect world) and today "kirsch" is widely drunk in France and abroad as an after-dinner liqueur or in cocktails. It's also used for cooking. A minimum of eighteen kilos of cherries are needed to make one liter of liquor.
Very special old people
brandies soon caught on in France, especially in the East. Here, family
traditions were so deeply rooted that certain farmers, until recently,
enjoyed the much sought after privilege of being allowed to produce spirits
on the farm without having to bother with the state license. In a moue
to fight alcoholism, the French government wanted to abolish this hereditary
right, creating an uproar not only in the familles concerned but also
among connoisseurs who particularly appreciated these farm produced drinks
on which so much time and effort had been spent. The new measures meant
that many traditional "brewers" used very devious means to get
round the law. The legislation prevented children from inheriting the
right to make spirits but did not stop those who already had this right
before the law was passed from continuing as before. This meant that families
often didn't declare the death of a grandparent in order to carry on brewing
under the deceased relative's name. Some grandfathers thus reached the
ripe old age of one hundred and thirty, due entirely to the beneficial
effects of eau-de-vie.
All kinds of fruit, all kinds of tastes
to return to our subject, other fruits that regularly go into the making
of French eaux de vie include plums, raspberries (11 kilos are needed
per liter of liquor) and the Williams pear (one liter requires 28 kilos).
More unusual fruits include elderberries, rose hips, sloes, rowan and
holly berries. The therapeutic value of these fruits is often recognized
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