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Food glossary

Brandy

Brandy

Brandy is a grape-based spirit which is distilled from wine. It is a popular after-dinner drink and the best types, such as Cognac should not be mixed. It is traditionally served in a large balloon glass - this allows the brandy to be swirled and gently warmed in the hand. Younger brandies mix well with soda and ice as an aperitif. Brandies stocked in Waitrose include Waitrose Three Year Old Brandy from France and Waitrose Solera Jerezana Reserva Brandy de Jerez which is from Spain.

Uses: Brandy is used to flambé sweet or savoury dishes such as the chicken in coq au vin or pancakes in crêpe suzettes - the brandy is ignited and allowed to burn either on the finished dish or in the pan during cooking. It can also be added to savoury creamy sauces to be served with meat.

Armagnac

A traditional French brandy second only to Cognac which comes fron Gascony. Like Cognac, Armagnac is aged in oak casks for up to 40 years and is made from the poor acid wine of the picpoul grape.

Calvados

A traditional apple brandy from France which is popular for drinking and cooking. The younger the calvados the more pronounced the apple flavour and aroma. Waitrose Calvados Vieille Reserve de Pays d'Auge is aged for a minimum of 4 years.

Uses: Calvados adds a wonderful flavour to sweet and savoury dishes - it is especially popular in pork and chicken recipes and in apple desserts.

Cognac

A traditional French brandy that is named after a town in the Charente region of western France, Cognac is often considered to be one of the finest types of brandy. VS Cognac may be as young as three years old, while VSOP (Very Special Old Pale) has been matured for at least five years. Waitrose stock a selection of Cognac including Waitrose Fine Cognac VSOP, Martell VS and Rémy Martin VSOP.