French figures: The drink that sparked a regional crockery battle

France is world famous for its wine, but cider also plays an important part in the culture - with a lot of rules about when it should be drunk (which not everyone agrees one).

French figures: The drink that sparked a regional crockery battle
Photo: AFP

Cidre (cider) is not the most popular alcoholic beverage in France. Wine, beer and stronger liquors all outcompete that sweet fruity fizz.

Yet most French people agree that cider is the only right thing to drink with crêpes, the famous French pancakes.

But they don't agree on how to drink it.

Visit a crêperie in Brittany and they will serve cider from round bowls, une bolée, instead of glasses.


It's a longstanding tradition that few Bretons seem to question and just tacitly accept as the right way to go when serving cider. (Plus it's popular among tourists).

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy sips cider from a traditional bolée by Mont Saint Michel. Photo: AFP.

But in neighbouring Normandy cider is often served in a stemmed glass.

The sector is trying to push for more restaurants to opt for glasses instead of the bowl because, they say, it enhances the taste of the cider, which they hope could help their marketing and – ultimately – boost sales.

For now, producers struggle to get sales to go up outside big seasonal events such as la Chandeleur, the big crêpes day.

READ ALSO What is the big crêpes day in France all about?

This article is part of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – every day until Christmas we will be presenting you with a person or object that has a particular significance to life in France.


Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


French figures: The true spirit of France

This is the incredible story about the teenage girl who became a symbol of France for the ages.

French figures: The true spirit of France
Illustration photo: AFP

The story of Joan of Arc – Jeanne d'Arc in French – begun like many fairytales do: an unlikely hero is chosen to accomplish a dangerous task.

Born around 1412, Joan of Arc was an illiterate peasant girl convinced that divine powers had decided she would fight the English army in France. 

She then did exactly that. 

This was during the so-called Hundred Years’ War, when English troops battled for territory across the country that is now France.

Joan of Arc liberated Orléans city from English forces in a legendary and decisive battle that paved the way for the later French victory in 1453.

Joan of Arc paid for her heroism with her life. She was captured and sold her to the English army, who burned her at the stake in Rouen, northeast France, around 1431. She was approximately 19 years old at the time.

But her short life left a lasting mark on France and in 1920 she was made a Saint. Almost 600 years after her death she is still commemorated and celebrated in France and her spirit is invoked during difficult times for the country.

Known today as “the Maid of Orléans”, Joan of Arc's silhouette is all over the city, ingrained on medallions on the street, cast into sculptures and painted on the boxes of Cotignac, an Orléans culinary speciality.

READ ALSO: Ten reasons why you should visit the French city Orléans

This article is the final instalment of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – featuring every day a person or thing that has a special place in French culture. To see the whole calendar, click here.