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Thread: Substitute for Calvados

  1. #1

    Substitute for Calvados

    I would like to make CL's "Coq au Vin" recipe from 2001 (April or May, I believe), and I was wondering what the best substitute for Calvados is. I called a package store about an hour ago, and they told me that they carry only one kind, which costs $27! (My jaw dropped. ) Needless to say, I don't really want to have to pop for that. Is regular brandy just as good, or even something non-alcoholic like apple juice? Or do some package stores carry small bottles of Calvados too? Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Heading WEST!!
    Calvados sort of tastes like applel flavored turpintine
    It is very...ummmm...alcoholy in taste...powerful and unrefined.
    I would say brandy or cognac would be a softer and gentler (and maybe tastier ) sub.

    Haven't checked yet though...

    If you don't have cognac or brandy, maybe an armangac, which is similar to cognac but a different region in france.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Naperville, IL, USA
    From Cook's Thesaurus:

    "apple brandy = eau-de-vie de cidre = eau-de-vie de marc de cidre = cider brandy Notes: This exquisite brandy has a soft apple fragrance. Calvados = calva (cal-VAH-dohs) is the French version, applejack = apple jack is the inferior American version. Calvados is ranked much like cognac. The very best Calvados are labeled Napoleon, Extra Old (XO), Extra, or Hors D'Age. After that comes VSOP, Vieille Reserve, or VO. Next come Vieux or Reserve Calvados, then those with three stars or three apples on their labels.
    Substitutes: pear brandy OR equal parts apple juice concentrate and cognac"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    In transition!
    It seems weird to me that there would be Calvados in a Coq au Vin recipe, and the online version of the recipe says "Calvados or brandy" so I would definitely choose the brandy if I was doing it. It's definitely not worth $27, I don't think, unless you thought you would use the Calvados in other recipes, or, god forbid, drink it...LOL

    From what I know about France, Calvados is from Normandy where they have a lot of apples and apple-flavored things. I know I've seen crepes flambéed with Calvados before, and it's used in other regional dishes too. Since Coq au Vin is a very traditional dish from Burgundy, though, I'd definitely use regular brandy, not "Calva" (they way locals refer to it, as I recall).

    So, blah blah blah...what wallycat said!!
    "In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport."
    --Julia Child

  5. #5
    Thanks for all your suggestions, wallycat, Ralph, and honeygirl1971. I don't particularly like turpentine, so maybe it's better that I didn't get the Calvados. Since I did what to infuse a bit of apple flavor just to see what that would taste like here, I think I'll try the suggestion for equal parts cognac and apple juice concentrate. I hadn't heard of armagnac before--that sounds interesting as well. Anyway, thanks a lot everybody.

  6. #6

    Exclamation Calvados Substitute

    After reading the replies about a substitute for Calvados, I felt I needed to speak up for Calvados. I have a wonderful recipe from the "Silver Palate Cookbook" called "Chunky Apple Walnut Cake." It's the best cake in the world. I bit the bullet and bought the bottle of Calvados to use. I've never been sorry. So far, I've only used the Calvados in this recipe, so it lasts a long, long time. Once, I tried substituting an apple liqueur and the result was very disappointing. Yes, it is potent and I, personally, would not drink it but I think the strong taste is what makes it so good in recipes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    NashVegas, baby!
    I'm always suspicious when someone drags up a multi-year-old-thread just to make a comment. This one is more appropriate than most. Still ...
    The Blog is open again!

    "If God had meant for corn bread to have sugar in it, he'd have called it cake." -- Mark Twain

  8. #8

    Wink Not suspicious at all

    To Funniegrrl:

    To tell you the truth, I didn't notice the dates on the other posts. Each year about this time, I search for where I can buy Calvados. It's not readily available. If necessary, I order it online. While searching, I found the Cooking Light website and read the comments on Calvados, so I joined to be able to send my input.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Lone Star State
    I'm confused -- you only use it in one cake recipe, so it lasts a long time. But you have to buy it every year? How many apple cakes do you bake each year?

  10. #10

    Cool Lasts a long time


    Once I sent my post, I thought of that very thing. I knew that sounded strange. Well, it does last a long time. I kept one bottle for several years and gave the last of the bottle to my step-daughter which has now led me again to search for Calvados, which I expect will last several years. I probably make just two of these cakes a year. So, no, I don't look every year, but holiday time is when I search.

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