One of the many surprises I encountered during my time in Asturias, Spain were the sidrerias, or the cider houses. Fresh off, er, straight off a trans-Atalntic, overnight flight, just after a quick stop at the hotel, my guide Hugo took me to my first ever sidreria, Tierra Astur in Oviedo.
Upon our arrival, we immediately joined the rest of our group and took in a brief explanation on the cider house and the region’s cider tradition.
Each year, the cider production begins with apple picking in late September. In the middle of November, once the picking is finished, the juice is pressed and deposited into barrels (kupelas). Once January rolls around, the fermentation process is complete and the cider, with a low alcohol content, is bottled and enjoyed throughout the rest of the year.
The cider is served by holding the bottle high into the sky with one hand and holding the the glass as low as possible in the other. The bottle is then tipped over slightly sending a wet, splashy “ciderfall” down to the glass below until the glass is less than a quarter full. The entire glass is then consumed in one swig. I found the cider to possess a bit of a smokey flavor and found it to be completely different than your typical bottled hard cider.
During my stay, I ate at a few different sidrerias. Tierra Astur, with its rustic decor that included tables set inside of giant cider barrels, was a total meat-fest and my favorite of the trip. The others typically served tortillas with fish, chorizo, ham, local white fish alongside lots of bread and wine.