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Old 03.11.2010, 17:20
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The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

I am planning a trip with my girlfriend to the Val-de-Travers in Neuchatel, near the border of France, to partake in the Absinthe trail!
As you might not know, Absinthe (though there is some speculation) was first distilled in this region, and the amount of distilleries (clandestine, for the most part, until distillation of spirits was legalized in 2005) existing in this small village is apparently quite staggering.
I recently read the book The Devils Picnic by Canadian journalist Taras Grescoe, a non-fiction in which the author travels to different parts of the world indulging in many borderline illegal substances, such as coca leaves in La Paz, chocolate in Bayonne (yes, it was illegal for some time there!), and absinthe in the Val-de-Travers! He could not help but blubber about the qualities of this locally brewed ambrosia (as well as the inferiorites of the Coop brand, Kubler), and how many of this Travers bottles, though clear when pure, louche a bright cloudy blue instead of green!
Well, Christmas is right around the corner, and I can think of nothing better to offer the men in my girlfriends family (proud Swiss as they are) than a locally made, unique absinthe.

So! Ideas? Experiences? Tips? Has anyone been to this region, experienced La Petite Bleue? Anyone wish to defend their precious Kubler? Does anyone know any distillers personally and would like to make the process easier for me ?

Cheers!
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Old 03.11.2010, 21:27
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

Fleurier is full of shops selling Absinthe and other goods (Absinthe chocolates!!)
Take a look at www.oxygenee.com - it has lots about Absinthe in Pontarlier.
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Old 03.11.2010, 23:00
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

You do know why Absinthe was banned for a very long time don't you?
It might be best to give your relatives only a small bottle, or they may start killing each other!

There is also a very good steam engine club in St Sulpice,
http://www.vvt.ch/vvt_grafik/pdf/vvt...15+160510f.pdf

and you can visit the asphalt mines and eat ham baked in asphalt
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/dest...alt-mines.html

There is also the Swiss sparkling wine company Mauler Wine Cellars in Môtiers
http://de.mauler.ch/run?iset=1358&re...1&sansframe=tr

and the enormous rock cliff
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/dest...rs-valley.html
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Old 03.11.2010, 23:54
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

Thanks for the links, especially the steam engine - although i sincerely hope you were joking about that bit with them killing each other!
If you do your research, absinthe is no more harmful than any other strong alcohol. The whole French campaign against absinthe ("L'absinthe, l'alcool qui rend fou!") was nothing more than a propagandha campaign started to fight the immense popularity this exceptional drink had amongst the bohemian and artist types... In fact, if you look into who it was that began all this hype was none other than the grape farmers and winemakers of those particular regions!
If you haven't tried it, I really recommend it to you, especially if you are in the Val-De-Travers... I hear it is consumed quite religiously over there, and as far as I know, its a pretty stable place!
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Old 04.11.2010, 00:19
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

Yes- it's as healthy or bad for you as any other alcohol. When it became immensely popular the story goes that unscrupulous cheats would slap together ingredients including some industrial chemical 'boosters' that led to some of the reported deaths and mayhem. But mostly it was just a smear campaign as jerebear said.

Lovely stuff. Having only ever had it here from clandestine makers, a few years ago I spotted some at a bar in New Orleans. I think it was 14 bucks for a glass... and they ruined it with the sugar and flaming nonsense . A proper Swiss drinks a proper Absinthe with cold water only, maybe an ice cube (I know but they do exist here). As you get on the ratio of Absinthe to water gets more skewed and you feel less and less drunk and more and more brilliant. It takes one, maybe two serious Absinthe hangovers to tame most drinkers.
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Old 04.11.2010, 00:25
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

I have a bottle in my cupboard, I bought it in France. Wikipedia is very informative as I expect you well know. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absinthe
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Old 11.11.2010, 14:33
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

We visited an Absinthe maker in Môtiers 2 weeks ago while on vacation in Jura. Highly recommend Mr. Willy Bovet's distillery near the train station. They speak French or his wife speaks German. Lovely couple and you can taste before buying. He produces 4 kinds- 2 @ 54%, 65% and 77%. There are other distillerys near by as well as the winery like Ittigen mentioned.

absinthe-trail-neuchatel-image0472.jpg

absinthe-trail-neuchatel-image0473.jpg
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Old 11.11.2010, 14:59
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

I hesitate to say this, in case it might be used against me in future. LOL. But I was born and bred in absinthe country - and it never did me any harm. I used to help with bottling at a clandestine producer's place- in exchange for using their swimming pool! And remember all the clandestine producers from the 50s and 60s around the Val-de-Travers. Some friends of mine here were really active in getting the Fée Verte or Bleue re-instated and organised the first Fete de l'Absinthe in Boveresse about a decade ago (it is a great yearly event now). BTW if coming to St Sulpice and interested in VW/Beetles, there is a Museum there totally dedicated to make. After 40 years in UK, I'm back in the area- so if you come over could meet up for une p'tite bleue in Fleurier or Motiers. There is a Regional Museum in Motiers about the history of bleue making in the area (as well as watch making, lace making, etc + Rousseau who stayed in Motiers for a couple of years when kicked out of France.
Pernod was invented in nearby Couvet- then production taken over the border to Pontarlier where it was cheaper to produce.
Absinthe was banned because white wine producers were jealous as la Bleue started to take customers away. Sadly some unscrupulous producers would use illegal methanol instead of ethanol to produce cheap cheap absinthe, thus causing nervous damage or even blindness for those who drank it in large quantities, and even neat instead of diluted with water.
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Old 11.11.2010, 15:37
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

18th June 2011 is the date for the next Fete de l'Absinthe in Boveresse. In your diaries if interested, and perhaps see you there. All local producers are present, + everything related to absinthe, 'dispensers' (glass and pewter, or pottery), spoons, etc, etc. A great fun day -perhaps best to come by train to Motiers rather than drive home!! See you there then!
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Old 14.11.2010, 17:05
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

Quote:
I hesitate to say this, in case it might be used against me in future. LOL. But I was born and bred in absinthe country - and it never did me any harm. I used to help with bottling at a clandestine producer's place- in exchange for using their swimming pool! And remember all the clandestine producers from the 50s and 60s around the Val-de-Travers. Some friends of mine here were really active in getting the Fée Verte or Bleue re-instated and organised the first Fete de l'Absinthe in Boveresse about a decade ago (it is a great yearly event now). BTW if coming to St Sulpice and interested in VW/Beetles, there is a Museum there totally dedicated to make. After 40 years in UK, I'm back in the area- so if you come over could meet up for une p'tite bleue in Fleurier or Motiers. There is a Regional Museum in Motiers about the history of bleue making in the area (as well as watch making, lace making, etc + Rousseau who stayed in Motiers for a couple of years when kicked out of France.
Pernod was invented in nearby Couvet- then production taken over the border to Pontarlier where it was cheaper to produce.
Absinthe was banned because white wine producers were jealous as la Bleue started to take customers away. Sadly some unscrupulous producers would use illegal methanol instead of ethanol to produce cheap cheap absinthe, thus causing nervous damage or even blindness for those who drank it in large quantities, and even neat instead of diluted with water.
Whoa! Totally the type of reply I was fishing for! What a wicked experience that must have been!
As for your offer of the p'tite bleue, I'm afraid I will have to hold you to that. In fact, if you know the area, I am planning on picking up a few bottles of the stuff for christmas presents, so some recommendations would be great. Is it simply a matter of walking into the store and picking it up, or do I have to speak with the distillers themselves?
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Old 14.11.2010, 17:13
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

LOL, for us as kids, absinthe and illegal production was just 'normal' - a way of life. There are so many brands here in the Val-de-Travers- and it is a matter of taste. The Gold medal this year was won by 'Celle a Guilloud'. They have a small shop in the centre of Fleurier, next to Migros, where they sell their absinthe and all sorts of linked gadgets, spoons, etc.
You can also visit Bovet Motiers, near the station and at the back of the very good Hotel des Six Communes. it would be fun to have an English contingent visit to the Fet de l'Absinthe next June - will have to organise something nearer the time. Where do you live btw?
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Old 14.11.2010, 17:27
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

You don't even have to go searching too hard. The award winning shop discussed will send it to you

Even have piccies of the trail!

Merry Christmas!
Gal x
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Old 14.11.2010, 17:56
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

More fun to visit my native area though and come and see + taste for yourself. Anyway, hope we can organise a meet for next June.
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Old 14.11.2010, 21:06
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

Quote:
18th June 2011 is the date for the next Fete de l'Absinthe in Boveresse. In your diaries if interested, and perhaps see you there. All local producers are present, + everything related to absinthe, 'dispensers' (glass and pewter, or pottery), spoons, etc, etc. A great fun day -perhaps best to come by train to Motiers rather than drive home!! See you there then!

Sounds good to me - already in diary
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Old 14.11.2010, 21:09
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

Great - will be fun. BUT DON'T FALL OVER !!!

Last edited by Odile; 14.11.2010 at 21:11. Reason: typo
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Old 14.11.2010, 21:11
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

Val de travers is a beautiful area as well and it really does make the ultimate gift.

There is also a phony champagne factory in val de travers (champagne by definition has to be from troy in France IIRC)
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Old 14.11.2010, 21:34
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

Champagne Mauler in Motiers. They are not that 'phony' and win many Gold medals and top competition. 4th Generation now, family originally came from Alsace. But cannot call their 'Mousseux' = 'Champagne' because of the AOC which requires that it must be made in the Champagne region of France near Rheims/Epernay. Excellent. Better come by train if you are going to spend time tasting Mauler and Bovet absinthe with luch at the Six Communes- all within 150m of each other and 1 min from train station. Go up the village then to visit the Rousseau and regional Museum (with a nice history/exhibition of absinthe, watch making, etc. A hike up the Gorges de la Poetta Raisse is one of my favourite walks (good walking shoes required!).Enjoy. Maybe we need to organise a whole discovery week-end with the Fete de l'Absinthe in June.
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Old 14.11.2010, 21:37
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

Quote:
Champagne Mauler in Motiers. They are not that 'phony' and win many Gold medals and top competition. 4th Generation now, family originally came from Alsace. But cannot call their 'Mousseux' = 'Champagne' because of the AOC which requires that it must be made in the Champagne region of France near Rheims/Epernay. Excellent. Better come by train if you are going to spend time tasting Mauler and Bovet absinthe with luch at the Six Communes- all within 150m of each other and 1 min from train station. Go up the village then to visit the Rousseau and regional Museum (with a nice history/exhibition of absinthe, watch making, etc. A hike up the Gorges de la Poetta Raisse is one of my favourite walks (good walking shoes required!).Enjoy. Maybe we need to organise a whole discovery week-end with the Fete de l'Absinthe in June.
It's phony in the sense that it isn't really champagne and they can't put champagne on their bottles. I couldn't comment on the taste since I've never tried it
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Old 14.11.2010, 21:41
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

www.mauler.ch it's really good actually- as said must organise a discovery week-end next year.
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Old 15.11.2010, 09:20
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Re: The Absinthe Trail in Neuchatel!

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It's phony in the sense that it isn't really champagne and they can't put champagne on their bottles. I couldn't comment on the taste since I've never tried it
I'll let you know what it's like when we've tasted the bottle our landlord kindly left in the fridge for us whenwe moved in last week.
Will probably be next week though.
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