La Roche Bernard

Introduction to La Roche-Bernard La Roche-Bernard is a small town in Southern Brittany. It is a very exciting place to visit for many reasons. The town is situated on the River Vilaine, and plays host to a myriad of small boats in its natural harbour. Two superb...

Local Activities

Whatever your interests, the Brittany / Pays de la Loire region of France certainly offers an incredible range of local activities. From walking to sailing or from playing golf to relaxing on one of the many glorious sandy beaches. Do you prefer a self-catering...

La Brière

A 5 minute drive from La Roche Bernard takes you to the Parc Naturel Régional de La Brière. The park includes the largest wetland area in France outside of the Camargue. It covers around 100,000 acres. Its establishment in 1970 aimed to  protect the cultural and...

Markets in France selling food, crafts and antiques

Visiting local food, craft, and antiques markets in France is one of the most pleasurable experiences enjoyed by holidaymakers. This certainly applies to Brittany and the Pays de la Loire regions. Whether you are looking for local Pottery, Speciality salt from the...

Holiday Website Tips (2) – Be easy to contact

Make sure there is a clear and obvious way for people to get in touch with you wherever they are on your website. Failure to do so could result in lots of potential bookings finding their way to somebody else's website. A few simple ideas may make all the difference...
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Green grapes on the vine When I first came to live in France, I’d never heard of Pineau….and when I did hear of it, I thought people were referring to Pinot – as in Pinot Grigio, which I love! Pineau however, is whole different ball game. Its full name is Pineau des Charentes, because the Charente region is where it’s made.

What is Pineau?

This delicious alcoholic drink is a fortified wine, like Port for example, and is made by mixing three parts freshly pressed grape must (juice, skins and stem fragments) with one part Cognac, which must me at least one year old. According to legend, Pineau des Charentes was first made in 1589 – by mistake – when a grape grower didn’t realise that the oak barrel he was going to use to make wine already contained Cognac when he added the grape must. A few years later, when his ‘wine’ should have aged, he discovered a whole new drink – fresh, sweet and fruity.  From then on the recipe for making Pineau was refined and perfected and it’s become a popular and well-consumed drink ever since.

A glass of Pineau from the Charentes in France I have to admit it does taste lovely, but not really being an alcoholic drinking person, I find it very strong! The big Cognac houses here in France make the drink commercially, which is between 16% and 22% ABV, but the stuff I tried was made locally and this is much, much stronger at about 40% ABV! The locally made Pineau is much cheaper than the commercial brands, and you often see signs advertising it for sale throughout the Charente region.  The local one I tried was a rich, golden honey colour and smelt delicious….but definitely has a kick to it and gives a warm feeling when swallowed.

From the research I’ve done on Pineau des Charentes, it doesn’t get better with ageing and is better stored away from light and stored upright. Once opened, it will keep for quite a while in the fridge…but I’m sure that once you get a taste for this unusual and rich drink, it won’t last long!



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