France | Brittany

Cider production

Cider is without a doubt Brittany’s national drink, and its production goes back thousands of years. Cider apples were harvested in the late fall, just before the first frosts of winter. Their juice would be extracted through careful pressing, then fermented — a process that involved continual topping up (i.e. adding more juice to replace the liquid that had evaporated through fermentation) to avoid having the mixture turn into cider vinegar. Once fermentation was complete, the brew would be put into barrels or bottles whose corks were held in place by wire.

L’histoire du cidre breton, a book proposal for an illustrated history of cider, attests to Frédéric Back’s passion for drawing and his attention to detail. Back in 1942, hoping that a publisher would ask him to suggest a book, he created a series of drawings detailing each step of the cider-making process. Unfortunately, the project never came to light.

[peinture #02398]
Apple Mill
The wheel in the foreground was used to crush apples to make cider. A hitched horse or ox walked in circles to turn the wheel that pulped the apples. The pulp was then placed in a press to extract the juice.
France, Brittany
Sketch, gouache, sketchbook page (bound)
Credit: Frédéric Back
More Info