Normandy Pommeau (Pommeau de Normandie) is an aperitif with a delicious taste that comes from the marriage of non-fermented apple juice and Calvados, which is a very warm eau-de-vie (spirit) made from apples that can be easily mixed with other beverages in multiple combinations. Normandy Pommeau is perhaps the most well-known and traditional of these.
Pommeau is made using 2/3 sweet apple juice mixed with 1/3 Calvados. Slowly aged in an oak cask for a minimum of 18 months, Pommeau is delicately perfumed and fiery, while retaining an incomparable sweetness. This ageing process gives the drink its roundness, its amber color and its authentic aromas.
The history of Normandy Pommeau has its source in the savoir-faire of Normandy. Traditionally, the best apple juices produced there were married with Calvados in order to preserve and extend their fruity flavors throughout the year. Norman farmers were the only ones who were able to enjoy this beverage for several centuries due to an obscure regulation that forbid its sale. Luckily, this regulation was repealed in 1981 and since 1991 Normandy Pommeau has benefited from protected designation of origin status.
The terroir of Normandy Pommeau is the same as for Calvados in western Normandy. The soil of the orchards is composed of granite, shale, or clay, depending on the exact geographic location. The apples used to make the juice must come from orchards specifically chosen by the French National Institute of Origin and Quality, which is the agency in charge of regulating and protecting products that benefit from quality denominations, including geographic indications. The fruits used for Normandy Pommeau belong to the cider apple category and are sorted according to their uses as bitter, sweet, or bittersweet.
Traditionally drank as an aperitif, this drink should be served chilled but not iced in a wine or sherry glass. Ideal food companions to pair it with include foie gras, oysters, melon, and desserts.