Couperne_CalvadosThe fine folk of Normandy have a solution: the trou normand, or Norman break. In the midst of a decadent, endless-course meal (especially during holidays), les normands are known to take a pause with a small glass of the region’s aged apple-juice brandy, calvados. This supposedly helps to reset digestion and enables one to take on the next course.

Another classic version of the trou normand calls for the consumption of a bowl of apple sorbet bathed in calvados. The idea here is that the cold desert “drills a hole” through the stomach’s contents, making more space for what’s to come. Endless variations exist with different types of ice creams and sorbets combined with various brandies; you may also take a trou gascon, using armagnac, the brandy from Gascony, in place of the calvados.