My friend Michele sent me some cider from The Newt in Somerset, which was gorgeous with my ploughman’s lunch. It got me reflecting that the best cider, like wine, can’t help but tell the story of who made it, where, and the flavour of each unique apple variety.
Every year I make my Dorset pilgrimage to The Square & Compass in Worth Matravers to revel in the splendour of the pub’s own cider. Two pints is perfection; any more and I start gazing out to sea humming George Harrison songs.
My local South Downs Dry Cider is a year-round refresher for me and I’ve also fallen for Hunt’s Crowman Cider. Check what’s local – Oliver’s Cider in Herefordshire is hard to beat and, overseas, Normandy is a must, but Brännland Swedish Cider is a revelation. More than enough to get me singing My Sweet Lord.
OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH
IN CIDER TRADING: Kentish Discovery Apple Cider (5.4%, 50cl) £2.50, M&S. Superb light high-street refreshment.
APPLE…COR! Brännland Just Cider (4.5%, 75cl) £6, scrattingscraftcidershop.co.uk. An apple explosion encased in sherbet dynamite.
TOODLE PIP: Oliver’s Fine Cider, BC Medium (4.7%, 75cl) £7.50, oliversciderandperry.co.uk. I buy this every year – the 2016 is epic.
TUTTI FRUITY: Pilton Keeved Cider (5%, 75cl) £7.99, piltoncider.com. Gently structured with fab fruit, ploughman’s perfection.
CIDER OF THE WEEK
Hunt’s Crowman Cider (6.4%, 50cl) £2.75, butlerswinecellar.co.uk. I’m in love – perfectly fruity, fabulously fizzy and richly refreshing.