Category: Food

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

In life, you must be bold

My job in marketing was supposed to be temporary, a stable passageway out of a bad relationship into a new life of independence. But it had been three years and the job had become the thing holding me back. The problem was, I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I did what any confused 27-year-old American in France does: I went to a sheep farm an hour outside of Paris for the weekend.

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Harvest in Provence

Last year, a friend decided to plan, organize and carry out her wedding with the help of friends and family; no expensive dress, no professional wedding planner, no caterers. In late August, a group of us convened in Provence, where a zealous sun had left the riverbeds chalky white and the parched garrigue exhaled odors of warm thyme and rosemary. The southern fruits were ripe and I tasted my first hand-plucked purple fig. 

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