Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Orchard Pig - my kind of cider

I guess it's going to sound like a backhanded compliment but this is a cider for people who don't like cider. But I don't mean it that way. Far from being bland and tasteless Orchard Pig is a full-strength drink with a particularly intense apple flavour but it doesn't have the funky notes that 'real cider' and scrumpy sometimes suffer from.

It seems I share this view with the cidermaker Andrew Quinlan who has made the kind of cider he personally enjoys. So a long maturation for flavour but not too much oak to detract from the purity of the fruit.

The farm, which is situated near Glastonbury in Somerset, also has Gloucester Old Spot pigs - hence the name. Their ciders and juices are made from 10 different varieties of cider apples which are picked by hand from unsprayed orchards. Unlike bigger commercial cidermakers they don't add any flavourings, colourings or sugar. I particularly liked the 6.5% Dry Table Cider which has a lovely clean fresh taste - more like, dare I say, a Normandy cider than a British one - but the Medium Table Cider, which is richer and fuller is great too.

They've also been experimenting with a 4.2% sparkling cider which is sweetened with apple juice. I found it a bit wimpy on its own compared to the other two but it tasted deliciously refreshing with Stichelton (a creamy Stilton-like blue cheese)

You can find Orchard Pig ciders - and their equally good apple juices - in delis, bars and restaurants all over the south-west and Whole Foods in Kensington or buy them direct from their website.


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