Saturday, January 2, 2010

Starting the New Year in 'Ciderland'

This is what I found in my stocking this year. James Crowden's "Ciderland" takes you on a journey through many interesting cider and perry producers in the South West of Britain. Alongside culling my intake of smokes, a resolution for 2010 is to learn about these processes, visit the orchards and (clearly) taste, taste, taste!

Look at the bluebells in Half-Moon orchard, Melplash, Dorset. Have they been planted? Looks almost too good to be natural! I expect they get a great rate of pollination. Could there be a more photogenic scene in the British countryside?

A pleasing series of photos showing the making of a cheese prior to pressing. I particularly enjoyed reading about all the different attitudes and approaches to cider making. One of the key themes of the book seems to be that small-scale artisan producers are using hygienic methods to create a sophisticated product that is facilitating a change in the way we all think about cider. I also hadn't realised that many of the larger cider producers (e.g. Bulmers, Magners) use imported apple essence to flavour their drinks and there is no legislation currently forcing them to display the percentage of real fruit juice used. A pint of strongbow many only be 30% fruit juice, whereas proper farmhouse cider will be over 90%.

Perry also seems like an intriguing creature- as Tom Oliver says: "Cider is a hard master but perry is a beautiful but fickle mistress."

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