The true flavour of Asturias starts with a crisp cool bottle of asturian cider or «sidra» as it’s known locally.
Cider production has been a profitable activity for Asturian farmhouses at least since the 18th century. We can still find devices of great ethnological value used to press apples: “lagares”, or cider presses; the main production space of cider regions.
The change in techniques and contraptions has not substantially altered the process of making natural cider since the earliest presses.
It starts when the apples arrive, and they are washed and selected by hand before being crushed. The “magaya,” or the crushed pulp passes to the press, where the must or sweet cider is extracted. This liquid is pumped afterward to the barrels, made of chestnut wood, fiber or stainless steel, where it will be fermented, thus becoming cider that is ready to bottle in recyclable glass bottles. Almost 100 commercial presses, and at least 400 for domestic production, produce roughly 80 million liters of cider. A sector that, in spite of its modernization and concentration, is still distributed throughout the lands of Asturias. Industry from the earth, that leaves almost no carbon footprint. Modern and traditional. Where each press uses not only the most innovative techniques but also secrets that handed down through the generations.
During Spring, rural houses all over Asturias are busy with the bustle of asturian cider bottling as the locals stock up for the coming summers refreshments. This marks yet another important date in the annual event of gathering, processing, fermenting and finally consuming this pure and natural alcoholic drink. When British national Justin Shennell discovered asturian cider he immediately became a fan and has even started producing his own cider at home. He met up with us at the Finca La Rionda in Villaviciosa to explain the process involved when bottling homemade cider. Traditionally, it is best to bottle when there is no moon as the cider will be at it’s purest….
Many thanks to Antonio from Finca La Rionda for his help and warm welcome. He offers tours of the orchards and also the asturian cider production. Thanks also to Justin for been a wonderful guide to the bottling process.
More info Turismo Villaviciosa
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