cider in asturias

A guide to food in Spain

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sidra: cider

Cider is your traditional drink in Asturias with an almost nationalistic culture around its ritual pouring. This is a very dry cider, and unlike French or English natural ciders, uses predominantly acidic apples, rather than sweet or bittersweet ones, resulting in a low alcohol content of 3º to 5º. The best places to drink cider are the sidrerias (they are also great places to eat) . Here the cider is served by an escanciador, usually a man, a waiter expert in pouring the drink. He moves from table to table pouring a small amount at a time (known as a culín ), The escanciador raises the bottle above his head and expertly pours a thin stream of cider into a slanted glass, usually though not always, not splashing the punter. According to Asturian etiquette, this must be drunk immediately by the drinker before the cider loses its carbonation. Anything you do not drink is thrown into a wooden bucket placed on the woodchip-strewn floor. The glass is then passed back to the pourer who pours out another culín, and passes it to another drinker. As such it serves a social function of sharing. If you want to hold onto you glass and drink you cider in sips you are advised to order your own bottle as hogging is seriously frowned upon.

Cider is also drunk in copious amounts in the Basque Country in the famed sagardotegias (cider houses). See Spain’s top 10 cider houses (The Guardian)

…in the Basque country, the only cry that goes up in cider season from January to April is “ccchhhotch” (“txotx” in the local language), which means to break out the cider. At which point, people duck through small doorways in farmhouses and emerge in cavernous rooms filled with enormous chestnut barrels, their glasses tilted towards a fine flow of wheat-coloured cider.

Asturian cider is governed by the PDO “Cider of Asturias” protected cider and has to be made exclusively with the following cider apples varieties:

Limón Montés

Limón Montés

Raxao

Raxao

  • Acid: Durona de Tresali, Blanquina, Limón Montés, Teórica, San Roqueña, Raxao, Xuanina and Fuentes
  • Sweet: Verdialona andErnestina
  • Acido-bitter: Regona
  • Bitter: Clara
  • Bitter-Semiacid: Meana
  • Sweet-bitter: Coloradota
  • Semiacid: Carrio, Solarina, De la Riega, Collaos, Perico, Prieta y Perezosa
  • Semiacid-bitter: Panquerina

Lots more at the official Cider in Asturias site.

Note: cider is made in a lagar