Exploring natural cider in France

Last year was jam-packed with change: I moved to the westernmost tip of France, in Brittany. The region’s name, Finistère, roughly translates to “End of the World.” Though not as wild as my native Northwest–big farming has done a number on the landscape–Brittany has much to offer in the way of quiet beaches, crashing waves and some of the most spectacular storms I’ve ever witnessed. I’m also convinced that rainbows are born out here on the tip of the world: they sprout on the horizon with nearly every cloudburst.

Brittany is also one of France’s traditional cider-making regions. I recently visited La Maison du Cidre, a micro cider farm reviving traditional methods: no pesticides, no added yeasts, no filtering. Like natural wine makers, La Maison du Cidre puts respect for the fruit first. The result is a surprising natural cider that encapsulates the crisp, bitter-sweet terroir  of Finistère. Read more about French natural cider in my article for Sprudge Wine.

I was so inspired by their work–and the stout, earthy apples they tend to–that I decided to dig a little deeper into natural cider. This year, along with craft coffee and craft beer, I’ll be learning more about natural cider and sharing my discoveries with you.

Photo by Jean-Marie Heidinger

It’s Raining Coffee

Is it really nearly spring? The calendar says March 1st,  but the wet street and sullen grey sky out my window suggest otherwise. Fortunately, Paris has no shortage of cafes to shelter in when things get really dreary–and their numbers are growing. Boneshaker is doing a comforting coffee-and-donuts number in the 2nd arrondissement, while Mokonuts maintains a tight and tantalizing menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes and luscious homemade cookies alongside its coffee and teas. The Left Bank is fast becoming a destination for coffee as well, with the opening of the delightful Bleu Olive and laid-back O Coffeeshop (two words: banana bread). Head over to Sprudge for the full story.

New York in Haiku

I was in New York a few months ago on my way to Michigan via D.C. and a funeral. It was a rare moment when I had absolutely nothing to do but wander and wonder. The leaves were turning and the sun was bright between cloudbursts. I’d been playing around with poetic forms and wrote this series of haiku after one satisfyingly uneventful day. I am easily overwhelmed by city’s movement; this exercise in observation was steadying.

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