I call myself a Cointreau fan. I’ve enjoyed many a “blue moon” (Cointreau with lemonade and a dash of lime) in my time, so when I went to Angers, in the heart of the Loire Valley, and discovered Cointreau are based there, I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to go and see how it’s made.
Cointreau in France
The factory at Angers is the only Cointreau production site in the world and it’s been here for more than 100 years.
Cointreau was invented during the Belle Époque, like so many other grand french liqueurs. It was created by Edouard Cointreau and it has pretty much been popular ever since.
Anyone can take a tour at Cointreau and you won’t quickly forget the smell as you walk into the still room – it’s like stepping inside an orange. Here tons of orange peel, the main ingredient, is distilled daily in old copper stills and bottled – surprisingly it takes just 24 hours to make a bottle. In the warm atmosphere, filled with a heady scent, you’ll learn the secrets of Cointreau. I found it quite amazing to think that every bottle you buy, and every sip of Cointreau you enjoy, will have come from that distillery room.
15 million bottles a year are made here and though you may have only enjoyed the legendary classic Cointreau, they do make two other flavours. Cointreau plus cognac and a new flavour – Cointreau blood orange made from oranges grown on the island of Corsica. It’s delicious, and when I visited (2016) it was only available in a handful of places including the Cointreau shop where you can also buy Cointreau cake, olives and other goodies.
Don’t miss a tasting at the very smart bar, visit the factory, enjoy the huge collection of marketing material and promotional posters on display, it’s a great way to while away an hour or two and for Cointreau fans, an absolute must-see.
Check out the Cointreau website for some fab cocktail recipes – Cointreau Fizz with strawberry and basil anyone? Irresistible!
Find out more about Angers at the tourist office website: www.angersloiretourisme.com/en