Verger du Bout de l’Allée

Bout de l’Allée 5, 4608 Neufchâteau (Dalhem)

For the last few years, we’ve been returning to the same place and going back home with crates full of apples. The Verger du Bout de l’Allée in Neufchâteau opens its doors for five days every year in October. Only half an hour by car from home, every year we drive over on the first day, bright and early. Apple picking is one of my favorite things to do during autumn in Belgium. Not only because I love orchards and their layout, but it’s just pure fun! You go around rows and rows of apple trees, picking different sorts of apples and pears.

Apple picking in an orchard

This specific orchard has several different varieties of apples and they actively focus on growing older and more rustic varieties. The rest of the year, they make homemade juices that are 100% fruit. Also, there are two different pear varieties, of which we took one home. Generally speaking, pears ripen a month or so before apples do, so we only got a small basket of pears. This year, we got lucky because it felt like summer when we arrived at the orchard that Saturday.

Apple picking in an orchard
Girl carrying a basket of apples

Apple picking accompanied by so much sun felt a bit odd. The number of people that went apple picking that day was much higher because of that. Generally speaking, we’ve noticed apple picking is a family activity here and everyone pretty much comes in groups. You won’t find apples at a better price anywhere else and best of all, they are so much more flavorful as well! Besides, this way you actively support local businesses, which we should always strive to do!

Basket full of apples
Apple picking in an orchard
Pear Pie

First up this year was the pear pie. Mostly due to the fact that the pears ripened so quickly, they didn’t really leave me any choice. In the end, thanks to that, they were very easy to work with. I tossed them around in lemon juice, sprinkled with some cinnamon and sugar, and the filling was already done! At this point, I use the same recipe for the crust and the same improvised method for the filling. I like a slightly flaky butter crust, but without overdoing it on the butter. It’s always easy to cut up and the crust never turns hard and inedible, as they sometimes do.

Close-up of a pear pie
Apple Pie

Finally, I decided to make an apple pie one Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t picky about the apples and that turned out to be a mistake. The filling wasn’t as succulent as the one from the pear pie. So Grégory helped me out and in the end, it turned out great! Both pies were a success and needless to say, they disappeared in under 24 hours. I went the extra mile regarding the pie decoration because I wanted them to look autumnal. I honestly think making those leaves took longer than preparing the dough from scratch!

Apple pie surrounded by autumn leaves

Overall, I wanted to create this blog post to illustrate not only apple picking but also what happens afterward. While food photography isn’t usually something I post here, I think it’s always good to branch out a little. We still have plenty of apples left in the basement but honestly, it’s dwindling faster than I would prefer it to. It seems that even 50kg of apples isn’t enough to last us through the cold months! I suppose now we know for next year. After all these autumnal pies, I think it’s high time I try my hand at making a pumpkin pie, something I have somehow never tasted before!

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