When you visit Normandy, it is difficult not to come across the Normandy speciality: Calvados. (which can be drank pure or use in dishes such as the famous Normandy tart)
In Normandy, a region with a temperate climate, the question of preserving fruits has always arisen. For decades, turning fruit into a drink seemed to be the only alternative to losing the fruit: a squeezed apple turns into apple juice. Ferment it and you get cider. Then if you continue the process, the distilled cider becomes cider brandy also called Calvados.
The story of Calvados goes back to the 16th century when the distillation of cider is mentioned in books dating from 1553. A gentleman from the Cotentin region, Gilles de Gouberville, seems to have tried his hand at distillation and details the process in a manuscript. At that time, the beverage obtained by distilling cider was exclusively for the locals and family use. It became popular but it was not until the 19th century that the distillery became industrial. (Its development corresponds to the rise of transport and seaside tourism, particularly in Normandy).
The production of Calvados then took off as producers took part in agricultural competitions, where they were awarded prizes. The First World War also made Norman products known everywhere and Calvados was no longer just a region of France but also a popular alcohol. But Calvados almost disappeared during the Second World War, swallowed up by the alcohol quotas delivered to the State. To avoid this, the producers tried to have their product recognised and some Calvados, including that of the Pays d’Auge, became AOC.
Thanks to its AOC label, Calvados is now recognised throughout the world. While staying in Belle Isle sur Risle, you will have the opportunity to try the different Calvados of the region, but in particular the famous calvados of our partner Le Château du Breuil.
You should drive the 30 kilometres from the hotel to the distillery. The Château du Breuil is worth a visit as it represents 400 years of prestigious history carried by great families. It is also a magnificent site, with a 28-hectare park around the Château, dating from the 16th century, on the list of historical monuments.
The Château distillery offers a number of activities:
*tours of the distillery and its cellars, including the one in the 17th century Orangery
*tasting of great Calvados, but also of Norman rums and whiskies (think about booking the Prestige Exception Whisky tour, a VIP tour…it is worth it)
*oenological and culinary services (for example, the Gourmet tour will allow to awaken your taste buds by combining the Calvados of the Château with exceptional dishes)
*numerous activities and entertainment (possibility to attend a Sound and Light show followed by a double tasting)
So don’t hesitate any longer, book your stay at the Belle Isle sur Risle hotel, and benefit from discounts on visits and activities at the Château du Breuil.