Thursday, 30 December 2010

Eau de Vie

Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed a strange contraption planted on a verge in the village. It is on wheels, has a chimney which emits varying quantities of woodsmoke but the rest is a mystery as heavy plastic sheeting hung around its structure hides any activity from the curious passerby. A conversation with one of our neighbours, John, revealed that it was the 'bouilleur ambulant', a mobile distillery that transforms the barrels of fermenting fruit that we see everywhere around here in the summer and autumn to that most potent of liquors, Eau de Vie. I just had to speak with the bloke who was operating this strange contraption to find out more about the process and take some photos. I chose a quiet moment at the end of the day, but was very quickly and very rudely brushed away - there was no way I was going to glean any information from him as I was smartly sent packing! "Nothing personal" he said. Hmm. I can however tell you that the contraption looked something like this;Wonderful, isn't it! I have done a fair bit of internet research on the subject, but rather than regurgitate what I have discovered about the process, I will leave you to browse this excellent page that describes this ancient method of production of eau de vie in great detail.

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