Monday, 4 July 2011

Cider ramblings

Apologies for my slackness of late, my posting frequency has been more infrequent than it should be, it may have something to do with getting married and organising the wedding ourselves, followed by a fantastic honeymoon in Sicily (the apples are a bit rubbish there, but luckily they are about the only thing that was) and on top of that, being up to my nuts in work.

Seeing how the Sicilians seem to try and eat anything, it got me wondering if anyone Italians make any cider and apparently (and unsuprisingly) they do in a tiny corner of Italy known as Val D'Aosta. The town of Gressan (nestled in the foothills of the Alps between France and Switzerland) has an Apple Festival (second Sunday of the month), featuring the local cider and a vast assortment of apple desserts. It's a real personal point of interest how many cultures do cider, particularly if the growing conditions for apples are right. Surely it must be a case of, if they can grow apples they make cider or something similar? Someone must have a map of both hemispheres that highlights an apple growing band showing its northern and southern boarders? (If not, why not?) The US has a burgeoning interest in real cider, something I really hope to explore in the coming months. (Check out this nice little map of Dave White from Old Time Cider in US. It'll give you a good idea of whats going to start appearing in our shops over the coming years I suspect!) The Chinese are great drinkers, they have an old culture and alot of wisdom so surely they must make some kind of cider culture? And Russia. And India. And Kazakhstan to pluck a few more out of the air? Dessert apples are though to originate in Kazahkstan and our cider apples are assumed a result of hybridization between them and our native crab surely Borats ancestors must have dabbled in it? (which could explain alot.) I know Japan as a few cidermakers (they turned to apples amongst other things in WWII when rice was rationed.) Argentina, South Africa, Australia and NZ all make wine and cider and they are all on a similar latitude to ours. Pray tell - where is the most far flung place we can find native cider?

Incidentally, I read a fantastic book whilst on holiday called 'The Wilding' by Maria McCann (you may have heard of it) and I tell you this because the backdrop to the story is cidermaking of 1670's right here in Somerset. Its really well written, wonderfully descriptive and is a proper story. It has cidermaking info to hook a ciderlover in and enough plot, mystery and sauce to keep you there -I defy any of you to tell me its not enjoyable!

Anyway - here are some random pics to accompany your thoughts, I promise to resume normal duties with something more interesting, more photographical and more cohesive soon!

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