Thursday, 30 August 2012

Worlds Best Cider: a new kind of cider book

I'd like to start by continuing to apologise for my lack of posting in recent months, I'm still up to my eyeballs and news seem to move faster than I can! 

Anyway, the good news is (drum role please... roll out the Milkthistle....) as you may have already heard on the grapevine (apple tree) I'm co-authoring a new book provisionally titled Worlds Best Cider and its an attempt to highlight just that. Its a massive task, we don't have the time or budget to do everything we'd like, but rest assured the ever patient and uber professional Pete Brown and I have been tasting cider on various continents together since 2010. Even though we've been working on it since then, we've only recently had the official green light so we're gurt chuffed. Its a dirty job, someones liver has to pay the price and we were chosen. 

We want to look at the story of cider, where its made traditionally, the differences between the styles and list the best we can find within those styles. Pete is off to Canada later this week, I'm off to Normandy in 2 weeks and we're both off to the NW States in Oct. So far between us we've also done Brittany, Asturias, Frankfurt, and NE USA (oh and the UK!) Its a joint publication by Jacqui Small UK and Sterling USA and is due to be available late in 2013.

It's a joint venture throughout although according to Pete, it'll be populated with 'Bills loving, evocative imagery.' Talking of which, I've been looking for older, historical images to use early on in the book and came across this today. I doubt we'll use it (although we may) but I wanted to share it because I love the idea that cider inspired people to make and sell shirts in 1959!

How do you like those apples?

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Ashridge Cider - the photos

At last, the belated photos!

Our guest judge at this years Bath & West Show was Monsieur Raymond Blanc who has the massive job of deciding the best ciders in one of the largest categories. (As the shows gets bigger, this gets more difficult so well done sir) and he decided that the Ashridge Vintage Sparkling Brut was his favourite and chose to crown it Supreme Champion Cider and awarded it the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers Perpetual Cup of the show.

I had the honour of judging the international classes this year along with Andrew Lea and Martin Thatcher. Somehow its an appropriate section for me to be judging given my current travels for cider and I feel safe under the expert tutelage of vastly more experienced judges, particularly in this tricky category where completely different styles have to compete against each other somehow...

I haven't tried the Devon Blush or the Sparkling Vintage Brut (yet!) but I shall and I'm very much looking forward to it.


Ray's fav

L-R: Andrew Lea (awe inspiring cider expert) & Bill Bradshaw (general buffoon)

Supreme Champion Cider cup

Monsieur Raymond Blanc (honhehon)

"..the best cider I've tasted in a long time, made in Devon, called Ashridge Sparkling Cider."