Starting in the 17th century, farmers in the Pays de Herve began making
syrup from the apples and pears growing in their orchards. They made it
for their own consumption and for their neighbours. The main idea was to
be able to eat fruit not only during periods when fruit was not
available (frosts) but also out of season. Nowadays we are fortunate to
have refrigeration facilities for keeping fruit for long periods of time
and to have the means of transport for importing them from countries
where they are in season.
Traditional-style syrup manufacturing.
The farmer takes his fruit to the company. He pours them into a large
case called a "pallox", which is then weighed by the craftsman.
The cases are then taken into the syrup works, where the copper tanks
are filled with fruit. This is cooked with the stalk, the skin and the
crown on a low heat for 10-12 hours.
The craftsman then puts the fruit into a press. He generally pours in
five buckets of fruit, which is covered with a layer of Hessian. This
process is repeated until the press is completely filled. The Hessian
bag filters the fruit so only the juice passes through to be stored in
a tank. The pulp (crown, stalk and peel) is caught in the Hessian bags
to be used as animal feed.
Around about eight o'clock in the morning, the juice is pumped back
into the initial tanks, where it is refined (any residual water is
removed). It has to be cooked again at a high temperature (120°).
The juice gradually becomes thicker, darker and therefore turns into a
The syrup is then poured into a cooler where it is mixed until it
reaches a temperature of 50°.
It is poured into pots and left to cool on the shelves. Not until the
next morning are the tops placed on the pots.
Throughout the whole process, the craftsman has to be constantly on the
alert, frequently stirring the syrup so is does not stick to the bottom.
A good season (working period) lasts about two months (15 Sept -15 Nov)
but may last 10-12 days where there is a late frost
It takes 8 kg of fruit to make 1 kg of syrup. The 8 kg comprises: 1 kg
of syrup: 2-3 kg of pulp and 4-5 litres of water (evaporation)..
Qualities of traditional-style syrup :
80% of the syrup is made up of pears and 20% of apples from tall trees
in the Pays de Herve. The fruit has the right amount of sugar, it is
not crushed. It may not be as attractive as fruit from smaller trees
but it does have more taste.
No colourings or preservatives are used. A good season (working
period) lasts about two months (15 Sept -15 Nov) but may last 10-12
days where there is a late frost
This traditional-style syrup easily keeps for 10 years when stored in
a dry place.
"Espace des Saveurs et Découvertes"
At the main tourist office you can meet Jean de Herve …. This nobleman
with his warm voice will help you to discover his land and its richness
in architecture, gastronomy ….