Liqueurs and Aperitifs
The famous Maison Gabriel Boudier in Dijon is exacting in the quality of the fruit it deploys which is why its liqueurs enjoy a loyal international following. Most famous for its speciality 'Crème de Cassis', which forms the blackcurrant base of a 'Kir': one of France's favourite aperitifs. All of its other 'Crèmes' can be added to dry, still or sparkling white wines with gratifying results but they also make a fine addition to ice creams and sorbets. Those wishing to explore the range might want to commence with a pack of miniatures.
Pineau des Charentes is a sweet blend of grape juice and Cognac that is traditionally drunk chilled as a pre-prandial sharpener. In the summer months it is frequently served with, and inside, the wonderful Charentais melons that can be found in abundance in the markets of southern France. The Gardrat brothers' version is amongst the best we've sampled but they also produce a terrific oak-aged 'Reserve' bottling that has a lovely tawny colour and complex fig and dried fruit flavours, making for a marvellous digestif.
Floc de Gascogne is a very similar drink to Pineau des Charentes but features Armagnac instead of Cognac as a 'fortifying' base. The Dèche family's 'Château de Millet' bottling is made from red grapes giving a deep garnet colour and bright cherry and berry flavours.
Kingston Black is a traditional West Country apple that Julian Temperley uses to make his popular pommeau which he recommends serving ice cold as a palate-cleansing pick-meup.
Completing our portfolio of liqueurs is Gilles Dumangin's beautifully-packaged 'Ratafia Champenois', which is barrel-aged for four years to give a complex palate of grilled nuts, caramel and dried fruit. It makes a fine partner to strong, hard cheeses or chocolate puddings.