Cider on the move

Am I imagining it, or has there been an increase in cider drinking? If there is, it’d fit with our decade long rush into premium beers of all styles.

Certainly there’s a reasonable range of ciders now being imported from the classic cider-producing areas of south-western England and Normandy, France – not that you’ll find them in every liquor store, though.

Last year at 1st Choice, Phillip, I discovered the joys of Norman pear cider in a bottle of Le Pere Jules Poire de St Desir-de-Lisieux (Leon Desfrieches). Close your eyes and think, not of England, but of Normandy, just across the channel. This is fruit country. And what better way to preserve fruit than by making eau-de-vie or cider.

Calvados and poire William – Normandy’s classic apple and pear brandies – offer, just like the region’s other fruit eau-de-vies, a teasing impression, or spirit, of the fruit that made them. But cider provides a more direct connection to the fruit flavour, and a drink more suited to our hot summer. Pere Jules was as delicate, fresh and crisp as a just-ripe, just-picked pear, and offered a similar balance of sweet-fruit and tart acid, at just four per cent alcohol.

At last we know where to find more of the same. Watch this column.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009