Cyder & Perry
Cyder the forgotten miracle... natures reawakening.
Cyder of wild orchards, juice of our valleys. In the Westcountry the art of cyder making still has the status of an ancient religion, where superstition is inextricably entwined with landscape, myth and legend. Cider orchards and cider apples are treated with deep veneration and good cyder farms are worshipped as if they were wayside shrines or places of pilgrimage.
In the autumn the faithful congregation gather in the darkened barns as if in the cyder house itself you are in touch with invisible forces, only half tamed, another world dimly perceived, as if there were some kind of magical process at work beneath the skin, not just of the farmer, but of the apple itself.
Vast vats and oak barrels are admired and touched just to make sure that they are not a mirage and the names of certain apples are repeated like a mantra. The cider is tested, held up to the light, sipped, run round the mouth, the palate tickled, is downed, admired and the barrelled tapped again. The fermentation of sweet apple juice into fine dry cider is indeed one of nature’s forgotten miracles.
Bitter sweet - bitter sharp. Apples that have come from Ancient Ciderland, the noble cider counties, the highways and byways, the lanes and public houses, inns and taverns, that abound in the backwaters of Devon & Herefordshire, Somerset & Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Dorset & Cornwall.
From blossom to barrel, six months more or less - May till October time, the richness accumulating on the branches, man’s reckoning, the acre’s girth, freedom at his fingertips, a pickin up the cider apples, old friends he recognises such as Mr Dabinett and Kingston Black.
Let the artisan within reach out for a glass, and toast the apple tree once more. Eve was right - the garden of Eden not a million miles away from here. But one word of warning, never drink too early in the morning. And another thing beware cheap imitations and mimicries, industrial bastardisations whose process and platitudes have more of an evaporation about them.
Beware cheap skate fizzy sweet gum rotting mixtures that masquerade under macho names. Let Cyder be strong and draw its strength from cider apples pure. Let not the Government interfere with your pleasure it is ancient and revered art.