|French food alphabet advent calendar
Welcome to the latest post in my French Food Alphabet Advent Calendar series - a foodie’s countdown to Christmas Day, sharing posts including French regional specialities, my personal favourite foods, and some new recipes. I hope you are enjoying your virtual tastings.
It’s the 16th December and P is for Pineau des Charentes.
Pineau des Charentes is the local aperitif from the Cognac region of Poitou-Charentes and is one of my favourites since discovering it ten years ago. It is made by combining unfermented grape juice, or must, with Cognac that is then aged in oak barrels for around 18 months to give a rich and flavoursome aperitif, that can be made with red or white grapes. Legend has it that it was an accidental discovery when some grapes were dropped into a barrel of Cognac, a lucky and tasty accident if you ask me.
I would recommend serving it cold as an aperitif and if possible on a sunny terrace with good company. I think toasted goat cheese, sliced saucisscon and olives are the perfect accompaniments. A Charentais melon, halved with the seeds removed and filled with Pineau makes a lovely starter on a hot summer day.
As a local regional speciality it is celebrated and a bottle is given to all teams who take part in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes when they sign-in. It certainly made me smile to see professional cyclists with a bottle of Pineau in their drinks bottle holders on their bikes.