It’s always a pleasure driving up from South Wales to The Big Apple (Putley Cider Trials) because of the many orchards in full bloom on the way. This year was nodisappointment as the blossom was stunning.
On arrival we saw the usual faces andhad a quick chat before booking our entries in. While doing that we were accosted by a Japanese film crew – a man who didn’t speak any English, and a woman who now livesin London, so her English was excellent. I suspect they were attracted by the fact that we had brought our very attractive 25 year old daughter with us this year and no doubtthey thought she would look good on the tele! Those queing behind to book their cider infound all this very amusing.
We then set off to Ledbury where we always spend quite a while in the great kitchen shop there which also has a brilliant deli. We spent too much money as usua,l but discovered a lovely Chinese restaurant next door where we had an all you can eat buffet for £7.50. That filled us up nicely for the judging that was to follow.
On arrival back at the village Hall in Putley there were a number of people standing outside the locked door. The look on Mike Penney’s (Troggi) face when he realised thejudges for the bottle conditioned perry were inside and judging when he was a judgewas priceless. He had to bang on the window and shout, asking to be let in. Once themain judging started everyone piled in and the array of ciders and perries were amazing. The different colours and hues were highlighted by the sun shining in the window. Andy got started on the Dry and Medium ciders, while Mairi and I jointly did the Sweetciders and perries. Mairi was a Putley virgin and she couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing….or doing. She had been given some ‘training’ by Andy on what to look for so was reasonably competent and by the end of the afternoon was extremely flushedand ‘happy’. That Japanese film crew kept following her round!
The standard of entries was generally high and there were only a handful which were undrinkable. However, we didn’t find it hard to select the top three in each of thecategories. We were pleased with the day, especially getting a 1st for our Medium/Sweet Perry and a 3rd for our Medium Cider and if we don’t make the big time in the UK, Mairiwill be a cider-star in Japan!
By Annie Hallett, Blaengawney Cider