The tractors roared and the trailers filled with freshly harvested blackcurrants last week and by September the “nouvelle récolte” will be ready. The Loire valley is the heart of France’s blackcurrant production and the centre of the world’s Cassis production. The very best blackcurrants are of the Noir de Bourgogne variety and can be found at Villevêque which is close to Giffard’s home town of Angers and it is these aromatic berries that find their way into Giffard’s Noir de Bourgogne Premium Liqueur.
This year the harvest is late. Northern Europe’s unusually long winter and cold, damp spring meant that the harvest was pushed back to the end of July rather than the beginning and the very high temperatures at the end of the month led to a rapid maturation of the fruit.
Traditionally Giffard has always worked in partnership with local producers because it ensures a consistent high quality harvest and because it is important to minimise the time between picking and the maceration stage of the process. Picking at precisely the right moment and the rapid transportation of the fruit ensures that the very best flavour and the richest aromas are captured. Typically the farms are within a 50Km (30 mile) radius of Giffard which has the added benefit of a transport carbon footprint.