How do Brandy distilleries get a whole pear into a bottle of pear brandy?

If you’re driving through France and gazing serenely at the lush valleys and vineyards, you may suddenly feel you’ve lost your senses.

You squint, wonder what was in the wine you’ve been drinking, and look again; bottles appear to be growing on trees.

Although on TV they might squeeze a whole tomato undamaged into a thin bottle of Heinz tomato ketchup, in the real world there’s no way to get a ripe, fragile pear (or a tomato for that matter) into a bottle in one piece.

So, the French pear growers tie the bottle onto a tree branch over a blossom or a tiny, developing fruit, which proceeds to grow and ripen inside the bottle. Bottle and pear are shipped to Alsace, where distillation and bottling of the finished brandy take place.

Connoisseurs of brandy and spirits find an eau de vie containing a whole pear a conversation piece more than anything else, the pear doesn’t guarantee high quality.