Great Blog on Black Dragon

There is a great blog on Sidra Glocal about Gwynt y Ddraig's Black Dragon Cider and Welsh Cider as a whole.

To read the full blog, click here.

Cider Cupcakes: Does it get any better than this?

A couple of weeks ago we were contacted by a lovely lady called Angela who makes beautiful cakes and other sweet treats for a living (almost as good as making cider for a living!), from her B Cake Studio in Ebbw Vale, South Wales.

Knowing a good thing when she sees it, Angela decided to mix these two great ingredients; cake and cider, and came up with... a cider cupcake!

cidercupcakesTempted? Who wouldn't be! Now give it a go, and let us know how you get on....

Cider cupcakes

Makes  12

100g Butter

220g Plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

150g Sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

120mls Sweet pure juice cider

Preheat the oven to 180. Line a 12 cup muffin/cupcake tin with paper cupcake liners.

1. Sift together flour, baking powder and cinnamon and set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On a low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by the cider and the remaining flour mixture.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean, 22-24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cider Cream Cheese Frosting

250mls sweet pure juice cider
125g cream cheese
150g-300g icing sugar
a pinch of salt

1.Put the apple cider in a small pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil until the cider is reduced to about 2 tablespoons (it will be slightly syrupy). Set aside to cool completely.

2.With an electric mixer, beat together cooled reduced cider, cream cheese, pinch of salt, and 150g of the icing sugar. Add enough additional icing sugar for desired frosting texture.

CiderCupcake2

To find out more about Angela's cake creations and the B Cake Studio, keep up-to-date with her blog.

Sidra, Cider & Food

Found this great article on Spanish cider, or should I say 'sidra' while surfing around looking for information on the Spanish style of making and serving.

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/05/the-cider-press-spanish-sidra-cider-reviews.html

When I was in Asturias last year we visited a number of sidreria and it is encouraging to see the connection between food and sidra, whether tapas, or a full meal.

That got me thinking then more generally about food and cider together.... (mmm, there are worse things to think about)! Is there a universal link between certain foods and cider, or are there more local traditions specific to a certain area. I think the common associations are pork and cider, or cheese and cider.

When I was in Frankfurt earlier this year, I was intorduced to 'Handkäse mit Musik'. if you haven't had the pleasure of trying this, then I can only suggest you seek it out if you are in Frankfurt, mainly for the interesting experience this gives your senses; firstly as you smell the pungent aroma, and secondly as the strong flavours of the sour milk cheese in vinegar topped with raw onions hit your taste buds.

So now the search continues for other culinary matches for cider, and some interesting traditional cider recipes...!

Rocquette Cider

We thought we would share this great photo that we have come across from Rocquette Cider, in Guernsey.

cider

What do you think of the photo? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Le Père Jules Cidermaking Video

This is a great video from Le Père Jules in France on cidermaking.

Have a look and let us know what you think!

What has a 1932 Morgan got to do with Welsh Sparkling Perry?

Mike Penney of Troggi Cider, Monmouthshire South Wales lets us know about his French Cider and Perry connections.

What has a 1932 Morgan got to do with Welsh Sparkling Perry?

My name is Mike Penney and I am the proprietor of Troggi - makers of whole juice cider and perry and specialising in sparkling perry. In 1983 I moved to Monmouthshire and in 1984 started making cider and perry. In those days Usk Agricultural College (as was) provided a contract milling and pressing service and that is what got me going. The results were encouraging so Troggi (named after the brook that borders our land) was born.

Meanwhile a long term interest in Morgan cars had led to a search for an example of the definitive Morgan - a sporting three wheeler. These cars were produced between 1909 and 1952 with the zenith of production and sporting success in the 1920's and 30's. In 1989 the opportunity to purchase a part restored 1932 Super Sports Morgan, powered by a 1100cc JAP V-twin engine, was presented. Over the next 2 years the car was completed and in 1991 it was driven from Wales to Krakow to a medical conference to raise money for a lithotripter (an ultrasonic kidney stone buster) - but that's another story. This continental trip encouraged participation in other events in Europe, and from 1995 to the present regular visits to France have occurred each summer.

The French have traditionally had a particular liking for light sports cars and in the 1920s and 30s the exploits of Morgans in the UK were noted. This resulted in licences from the Morgan Motor Company to manufacturers in France being granted and French versions were produced namely Darmont and Sandford. Many of these cars survive to this day so that each year the enthusiastic owners clubs arrange meetings to which British Morgans are invited. These meetings are wonderfully French. Usually held in wine growing regions, arrangements are made to commandeer a medieval village or small town, the roads are shut and an alfresco racing circuit is arranged. After much roaring about usually in glorious sunshine this is followed by general merriment, eating and drinking - real entente cordiale.

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Leaving the pits before the race.

Currently the favoured venue is a small medieval town south of Saumur in the Loire Valley called Le Puy Notre Dame. This town is perched on a knoll of tuffeau stone topped by a massive church modelled on Poitier cathedral. Money to build the church was raised in the 13th and 14th centuries when a sacred relic was brought to Le Puy after the crusades - the garter of the Virgin Mary. It was believed that touching the belt assured uncomplicated childbirth so that the female nobility of Europe beat a path to Le Puy and paid for the privilege, hence financing the massive church building. However I digress...

Underneath Le Puy are old mine working dating back to Roman times - mines to extract the tuffeau stone. In fact there are an amazing 80 kilometres of galleries and chambers now providing ideal storage facilities for maturing the local wines - including sparkling Saumur Brut. The Saumur Brut is made predominantly from the Chenin Blanc grape so is different from its more northerly cousin Champagne; however, the secondary fermentation process is identical. Although I had dabbled first with bottle conditioning of perry (finishing the primary fermentation in the bottle) then with bottle fermenting (inducing a secondary fermentation in the bottle) advice from the Le Puy vignerons, especially Philippe Gourdon (Chateau Tour Grise) enabled me to refine the process, including the controlled disgorgement of the sediment - away from the spectacular but rather wasteful dégorgement à la volée.

So there you have it. How a car with a Welsh name made on the English/Welsh border nearly 80 years ago helped to rejuvenate sparkling perry making in Wales.

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Fighting off the French threat

Who put the 'Craft' into ICCF?

We did, the organisers! What it means is that this festival only showcases 'pure juice' ciders and perries. 'Pure Juice' means exactly what it says, just apple juice, no added water.

It seems odd to add any water at all. But the larger cidermakers, those that produce the national brands, feel that they have to. To be fair to them, it is hard to make a consistent product without adding water. When you make craft cider, every barrel is different, and this is all part of the attraction. Blending can iron out major differences, but the mass-market demands a bland product that is exactly the same time after time. Little surprise then that some global cider brands contain less than 50% juice, often made from imported apple concentrate, with the difference made up with water, sugar, and all manner of other additives.

But what of our overseas cousins? The craft producers from France, Spain and Germany are even more fanatical about pure juice than us. When I spoke to the President of the Basque cidermakers, through an interpreter, he told me that 'we don't add any rubbish like water or sugar'.

I've always believed that Welsh cider should align itself with the pure juice ethos of our continental chums, and that is why the Welsh Perry and Cider Society is a pure juice society, and why the PDO status that we are applying for has pure juice as a qualification.

So, what would you prefer to drink? A natural and pure product hand-crafted in small batches by artisans, or a mass-produced industrial chemical cocktail? At the ICCF you can be sure that you will make the right choice every time!