The small house in front of you is locally called the « baraque à goutte » (drinking shed). During the autumn, they make spirit. The day starts early, around 7 in the morning. The making of this alcohol needs to follow precisely an inherited process known for several generations. To begin, all the fermented fruit has to be put into a copper still tank and heated for at least one hour. Some people choose plums, others “Mirabelle” plums or pears. Heated thanks to a streaming system maintaining the temperature with a wood boiler, the cooked fruit releases water and alcohol vapours. This fine mist then passes in the pipe, a simple tube linking the two different tanks, to end up in the winding tube which cools it. The alcohol residue flows at about 70°, but this amount can change depending on the fruit and each distiller’s know-how. So here is the “first cooking” finished. Along this process, the alcohol loses its strength and must be measured until a 20° spirit is obtained. But be careful, the hard chore of making spirit doesn’t stop here. The vintage distillers must “redo this’ as they say. Indeed, it is time to put the alcohol back in the still and reheat it. This time, it is taken to 50°. To finish, the alcohol will be regulated at the desired strength by adding water. Finally here is a good digestive ! Why not taste it ?
This tradition of drinking huts is typical of the Haute-Marne Département.
Other customs, passed down from generations to generations, still continue today. The “Pose des Mais” for example is a village tradition which takes place during the night of the 30th of April to the 1st of May. In Faverolles, as in other villages of the area, the boys gather at dusk to cut young trees in the woods. The trees are then put up in front of the houses of young single girls. Then, as the village is sleeping soundly, this group of young men take here and there any removable object left outside such as flower pots, shutters... They place them in the square of the village. The next day, the unlucky owners will have to pick them up.
Another custom is upheld during the holy week of Easter, when the bells stop ringing for three days. Parents tell their children that they have gone to Rome to receive the blessing of the Pope and that they will come back Easter morning full of chocolate eggs which they will drop in the gardens. During their absence, it is the children who roam the streets with rattles in hand; this wooden instrument is of diverse shape depending on the regions, and always makes a loud sound. This is how with the help of the rattle, they will replace the bells and announce the religious services: at 7 a.m. the angelus is announced, then at 12 o’clock it is midday, “enjoy your meal!”, and at 7 p.m. it is the angelus.
Land of tradition, Faverolles also has its popular legends. Notice on the drinking shed the lion’s mouth splutting water from a clear source. There are twenty springs that flow continuously. Some are just trickling streams, whereas other ones surge into the Suize. In the past, these spring waters supplied the six “lavoirs (= wash-houses) all along the village. Today, only two of them are left. One of the sources “la Désirée”, gushes out abundantly 2kms north of the village. The local story talks of a naive legend which is:
“Fairies, fountain nymphs, living in the forest of Montgessey, wanted to take the source “la Désirée” into a basket, to show their strength to a rich Lord in the area. Then they headed to the village of Bugnières. When they reached the cross at the top of the village of Leffonds, the source came back on its own to Faverolles, where it was then safe from their reach. After this, the people of Faverolles sang: “Plait à Dieu, vaille que vaille, la source Désirée est à nous...” (Please the Lord, what is to be is to be, the Desiree spring is ours...)
Pursue your walking by coming down towards the river of Suize.
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