Gwynt y Ddraig Cider, is now one of Wales’ biggest cider producers. It’s not hard to see why they are one of the biggest producers as they have a wide range of ciders for all types of cider drinker. Run by Bill George and Andrew Gronow, the family cider farm started out as a hobby which grew into a full strength business. As well as stocking supermarkets and pubs they also host a cider festival with music and madness to draw in the crowds.
As well as Apple Days every Autumn, blossom events are a very special and seasonal way to celebrate orchards, apples and the coming Summer.
We’ve listed the top three blossom events on Real Cider for your friends and family to visit:
1) Big Apple Blossom Time, Saturday 2nd – Sunday 3rd May 2010
Each May The Big Apple runs a competition for the craft cider and perry makers of the region (and beyond) to compete for the title of Cider Maker of the Year and Perry Maker of the Year. On the Sunday and Monday the public will be able to taste the entries and judge for themselves. www.bigapple.org.uk/blossomtime Twitter: @onceuponatree
Location: HR8 2QN – Google Maps link
2) Apple Blossom Day, Sunday 2th May 2010
There will be a tractor rides for everybody (Dads always want to go round twice!), a cider and apple juice bar, pig roast for the hungry, followed by cream teas for the greedy, and a Treasure Trail for all the family. More http://appleblossomday.blogspot.com Twitter: @Orchardpig
Location: BA6 8LT – Google Maps link
3) ‘Blessing Blossom’, Sunday 25th April 2010
Slow Food Ludlow and Janet & Martin Harris of Butford Organics, Butford Farm, Bodenham are pleased to announce the perfect day to say goodbye to the winter cold and snow.
Janet & Martin and the Ludlow Slow Food group are hosting a great day out for the family on Sunday 25 April at Butford Farm, Bodenham. There will be a barbecue with their own organic pork sausages plus cider, perry or apple juice from the Farm and other treats for an informal Sunday lunch, dancing from Leominster Morris and the opening of the Farm’s new Woodland and Farm Walk.
The event starts at noon with food from about 12.30. For Slow Food members tickets are £7.00/adult and £3.00/child (12 and under) with family tickets (2 adults and 2 children) at £18.00. Tickets for non Slow Food members are £7.50, £3.50 and £20.00 respectively. Contact [email protected] or Janet and Martin on 01568 797195 for tickets or more details.
Location: HR1 3LG – Google Maps link
Happy blossom day!
Don’t forget to let us know if you have any other events you would like us to mention.
Also if you go to any blossom events please add your photos to our Real Cider Gallery.
Last weekend was the 20th Sussex CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival
A 4 day event held at Hove town hall. A sell out every session, even with 1000 person capacity. Tickets for the Friday evening session sold out with a week on going on sale!
Thirsty drinkers were queueing up eager to taste local ciders and perries, and ones further afield from Herefordshire, Wales and the West country.
I was fortunate enough to be volunteering on the cider and perry stall so it was a treat to get up and close with the ciders, as well as meet the drinkers who enjoyed the different varieties.
Most seemed to know what they wanted, and others we chose for them – there were some great ‘entry’ ciders, like Gwynt Y Ddraig’s Haymaker – a medium at 4.8%, extremely drinkable!
Jackie Johnson who has been the regional cider co-ordinator for Brighton & South Downs CAMRA for the last 6 years did a great job of sourcing a fine selection of perries and ciders from around the country for the festival.
There were 29 ciders and 12 perries on, compared to just 6 barrels of cider 6 years ago. Proof that demand and appreciation of traditional ciders have increased.
My top 3 ciders of the festival
- Oakwood Cider, East Sussex – Medium 6.4%- Organic, culinary and desert apples. Extra, extra dry with a bit like a cold shower.
- Montgomery ‘Old Monty’ Cider, Powys – Dry 4.8% – Cider apple varieties. Full of traditional character
- Gwatkins Stoke Red Cider, Herefordshire – Sweet 7.5% – Single varietal, sumptuous, succulent, full bodied.
If you haven’t been to a cider festival or want to know when the next one is check out our events page.
Wassailing is an old custom that takes place on Old Twelfth Night (17 January) or thereabouts, to exhort apple trees to fruit well the following season.
Customs and songs differ from place to place. At many events cider is poured onto the roots and shots fired through the branches to ward off evil spirits. Warm cider is drunk and toast soaked in cider is placed in the branches for the robin. Wassail songs are sung. More information on Wassailing at Wikipedia.
Here are the listings for wassail events in 2010:
- Wassail ‘Old Twelfth Night’ at Trelissick Saturday, 16 January 2010. Meet at the garden entrance and bring a torch.5-7.30pm Adult £4, Child £2
- Wassail at Saltram Saturday, 16 January 2010. From 6pm until 8pm Plymouth Join the wardens and the Dartington Morris Men at the Saltram orchard to take part in the ancient custom of wassailing. Followed by mulled cider and apple cake. For up-to-date listings please visit nationaltrust.org.uk/events
- Yarde Orchard Wassail Saturday, January 16th, 2010. From 18:30. Once again we will be holding a traditional orchard wassail which includes ceremony and music around the orchard followed by feasting and dancing in the cafe afterwards. 01805 601778 or e-mail to reserve tickets £8.50 adults £4.50 under 16s.
- Occombe Orchard Wassailing at Occombe Farm Lantern workshop 3.30 – 4.30 pm; Preparation for procession and refreshments 4.30- 5.30pm. Procession 5.30pm. Cost: £3.50 per lantern.
- Middle Farm Wassail Saturday 16th January 2010. 6pm onwards The National Collection of Cider & Perry, Middle Farm, West Firle, Lewes, BN8 6LJ. Under the auspices of Hunter’s Moon Morris the farmhouse orchard will be soundly wassailed, with accompanying indoor revelries, involving much music and dancing, drummers, mummers, hot victuals, a bar full of cider (mulled and otherwise) and local ales, and much good company. Free entry.
- Wassailing In Willesden Sunday 17th January 2010 2.30pm
- Wassailing at Rich’s Saturday 16th January 2010. Richs Farmhouse Cider, Mill Farm, Highbridge, Watchfield, TA9 4RD. Tel: 01278 783651. This years Rich’s Cider Farm Wassail will be held in aid of Cystic Fibrosis and will feature the Mangled Wurzels and Fred Bloggs. Tickets £12.50 in advance including Stew and a mug of mulled cider. Bar until midnight. Cancelled due to bad weather – update 13/01/01
- Wassail at Orchard Barns, Rooksbridge, Somerset. Saturday, January 16 from 6.30pm. Held at Orchard Barns on the A38 in Rooksbridge to ensure a good apple harvest the following year. A cider bar and a barbecue will be on offer and money raised will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital and the village’s Lights for Life charity. Tickets priced £5 and include a cup of mulled cider with bread and cheese and are available from 01934 750255.
- Chevin Wildlife Watch Group Wassail Sunday 10th January. Meet at The White House, Johnny Lane, Otley 10am to 12pm Contact Jenny Watts (Parks and Countryside, Ranger, Leeds City Council) on (0113) 237 5320.
- Wassail at the Fleece Inn, Saturday 16th January 2010 from 6.30pm. Singing, drinking & Morris dancing. Home mulled Plum Jerkum plus a hearty stew with crusty bread served around 9pm
- Wassail at Sea Cider farm Saturday, January 16th, 11am-6pm
- Wassail at Slyboro Ciderhouse/Hicks Orchard, Granville, New York United States
Sunday, Jan. 17th 4pm
We’d love to add more, do you know of any? Let us know and we’ll add it to these listings.
Cider events are your chance to get up close and personal with your favourite ciders from around the country, as well as learning and tasting new types from new producers.
The calendar below is a combined list of Cider and Beer Festivals. Usually CAMRA events that allow you to taste a wide range of traditional real cider.
Cider & Beer Festival Calendar used with kind permission of aletalk