Eaux de Vie
The distillation of fruit has been carried out across Europe for centuries, creating an outstanding array of 'eaux-de-vie' from apricots, blueberries, cherries, pears, plums, strawberries and raspberries, to name but a few.
Fruit eaux-de-vie are derived from perfectly ripe fruit that has been fermented and distilled. The best eaux-de-vie are clear, with an intense nose and palate evocative of the base fruit. They are always dry, smooth and well rounded and should be served chilled (but never over ice) in small shots so one can appreciate their distinct aroma and flavour. They can be poured into coffee, or even be mixed into pastries and tarts as the Normans do.
In Austria and Germany some very fine apricot eaux-de-vie is produced and although the French, Spanish and Italians produce very good examples of cherry eaux-de-vie it is always called by its German name, 'Kirsch' eaux-de-vie. Pear eaux-de-vie is more commonly known as 'Poire William' and is an excellent choice either on its own, in coffees or fruit salads and pastries.
Some distilleries market Poire William with a whole pear in the bottle, however, growing the pear in bottle is a costly process and as such these eaux-de-vie command a very high price.