Over in the Westcountry we are renowned for cider production, particularly in Hereford, Worcestershire and Somerset; but why? And where did it all start?
What you may not realise is Cider was not a ‘British Born’ product. It was first consumed by the Roman Empire who introduced apple farming and harvesting techniques to England. There is little documented on cider production after the Roman occupation until the Normans introduced Tannic and Acidic apples, which are still considered the most traditional and favoured type of apples for cider production today.
Cider really came into its own between the 14th and 19th centuries when Europe experienced the micro-ice age. Grapes needed a warmer climate to grow whereas apples can survive in cooler climates and therefore it thrived- being considered in aristocratic circles as ‘Apple Wine’ and particularly favoured by King Charles I.
As with all trends, cider fell slightly out of favour until the 19th century when it was reignited by a marketing over haul from commercial brands who repositioned Cider within the consumer market – albeit it at a cost to the quality and heritage in order to mass produce leading to many of the house hold brands containing only 35% Juice (from concentrate and often shipped in from Europe) and adding large volumes of sugar and preservatives. And here lies the birth of the ‘Craft Cider’ movement.
[Adapted from Great British Chefs.]
Legally, Cider needs only contain 35% juice however for those connoisseurs who know, there really is no comparison to the traditional methods and flavours of 85%-100% pressed juice Cider and this is why many artisan and local producers are going back to basics. At Bensons, our Ciders are nearly 100% pressed mixed cider apples to deliver a crisp, refreshing and balanced flavour. Our network of local fruit farmers enable us to not only minimise our carbon footprint but to also trace every apple back to its original source.
Why not try the difference for yourself? Visit our website HERE to try our whole pressed Eccentric English Cider! (must be over 18)