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Good food - Good Drink!
I came across this liqueur at the "Good Food Show" around 2009 I think. Pear wouldn't have been something I'd normally have gone for, but if its offered free and it's alcoholic, strangely I find myself trying a wider range of drinks!!
Until deciding to review it, I had never taken the time to consider the background of the drink but I have discovered that it's a relatively new drink to the market and I think that when I bought this for the first time, it would have been during its launch.
What's the Xante story?
The drink blends french cognac (oak matured) with vanilla and 'the best' pears from .... well, depending where you read, it could be Belgium or France, and the drink is produced (again depending where you read) in Scotland or Sweden! It's alcohol content is a hefty 38%, so please enjoy responsibly!
The process employed to mature the drink gives it the natural sweetness, giving it a sugar content of 16%, which I've learnt is actually lower than many other liqueurs. There are no colourings added, the beautiful amber colour comes only from the cognac.
What's it like?
So Xante is a pear and cognac liqueur. It's a beautiful clear copper/amber colour with a slightly syrupy texture - not syrupy to any extent of unpleasantness though. It comes in a classy looking slim bottle with gold lettering and black & gold labelling, and the bottle is 50cl size.
And the taste?
The flavour of the drink is so unique that the bottle itself doesn't really even attempt to describe it. Nevertheless, the pear, cognac and vanilla are all clearly distinguishable in there, and if I was to lean in favour of one flavour, for me I would say the pear wins out. It's certainly the pears that you smell when you pour a glass and take a sniff!
How do you have yours?
On the website there's a few of cocktail recipes, but none are too over the top - mojito, sprite, frozen berries - the overriding factor is that the pear liqueur is never going to be upstaged as the star of the show. For the really adventurous, (and if you can spare it!) there are also some food recipes on there - Roast duck with Xante sauce, Xante crème brulee, Risotto with Gorgonzola and flamed Xante pears ...!
Personally though, I like this drink on its own with ice. I can imagine it's probably a popular shot drink, but to me it's much more one to be savoured and sipped. Lovely for a warm summer's evening, let's hope I get the chance to try that out in the not too distant future!
Where to get it from?
I was sure I bought my second bottle of this in Tesco, but that was a couple of years ago. I definitely didn't buy it online, but today, the only place I can see it available is on Amazon, retailing around £20 for a 50cl bottle.
Xante is a liqueur that is so difficult to describe that even it's makers refuse to do so. However, it has a taste that owns a combination of the soft sweeteness of ripe pears and the potens and intensity of a fine cognac. It's an excellent drink as it is, with ice, as a shot or with your coffee. Xante is composed by Richard Heinrich, master blender at Maison Heinrich Liquoristerie Artisanale. Young cognac from Distillerie des Moisans in Sireul, Cognac, is mixed with pear extracts from the Flemish fruit district north of Liege.