Tuesday, December 09, 2014



Vivian Rowe, Return to Normandy (London: Evans Brothers Limited, 1951), p. 52:
Every traveller, every guide book, will tell you that cider is the drink of Normandy, that when in Rome you should do as the Romans, that you should always drink the drink of the country you are in. In a sense, cider is the drink of Normandy, but there is never traveller or guide-book to tell you when it is to be drunk. Certainly it is not to be drunk with fine dishes; honest wine is cheap all over France, and Normandy is no exception to that rule, even though the vine does not flourish there.

No, cider is to be drunk when you are thirsty, after a long walk or ride along a dusty road. Its pleasant sharpness drives away thirst, its deceptively imperceptible strength overcomes fatigue, the natural virtue of the fruit restores the elasticity of tired muscles. It is a splendid refresher between meals, but makes a deplorable mésalliance with delicate foods. It is sold in two forms, corked (bouché) or uncorked; the only difference I have ever been able to find between the two, save for a slight variation in price in favour of the latter, is that the uncorked has its sediment at top and bottom, and the corked, if any, at the bottom only.

You will meet, as I have done, the Englishman who turns up his nose at Norman cider as thin sour stuff not worth the trouble of drinking, then you will know that he has been brought up on the fabricated, gassy stuff, all but tasteless and non-alcoholic, which all too often goes by the name of cider in England and which appeals to palates of those who have never passed beyond a teen-age appreciation of sugared and aerated liquids prepared by commercial laboratories. Be tactful with him, for he errs from ignorance. Do not laugh him to scorn or hold him up to contempt, but rather lead him quietly to a more mature appreciation. By doing so, you will probably add years to his life and greatly increase the pleasure he derives from it.
Related post: Cider.

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