An ancient drink similar to apple cider, but much rarer is poiré. The most famous one, AOP Poiré Domfront is made from 40—100% Plant de Blanc pears in the Domfrontais, near the border with Brittany, and then only made with windfalls. Other pears are used as well, but what they have in common is they are small and sharp.
The high stem pear orchards in the Domfrontais look like no other. Many of the 100,000 trees that grow here are ancient: ‘100 years to grow, 100 years to produce and 100 years to die’ is the local saying.
Pear cider is fermented slowly and naturally, and becomes effervescent from a second fermentation in the bottle. The result is 4% alcoholic, sweet or dry. If it’s distilled, it becomes poirineau (similar to pommeau).
They also make Calvados Domfrontais, made with a minimum of 30% pears, and the rest apples.
Images by IDAC, Poiré Domfront