As autumn comes to an end, the local cider makers start harvesting the fruits of their apple orchards (pumaradas) now boasting all their splendour; red, green and brown hues that offer the promise of the region’s quintessential beverage, cider.
Traditionally, the apples are always allowed to fall from the trees–the moment when they are fully ripe– before collecting them from the ground, never from the tree, and transporting them to the cider mill, where they are sorted and washed. They are then milled or ‘scratted’ and subsequently pressed to obtain juice or ‘must’ which is then stored in vats to ferment naturally into cider.
Gijón’s cider mills are really worth visiting. A good way to get to know how cider is made is and how it is traditionally served in Asturias is by purchasing an Origin Voucher (€8), which includes a guided visit to a cider mill plus a tasting and small gourmet accompaniment.
The end of autumn is also a good time to try what is known locally as “sweet cider”, i.e. recently pressed apple juice that is just slightly fermented. Delicious with roasted chestnuts, another of the region’s staple treats at this time of the year.
And for serious cider lovers, why not follow the Cider Trail in Gijón? Get yourself a Taste Voucher (€4), which includes a tasting of a bottle of cider with a small gourmet accompaniment at a cider tavern or picnic restaurant, and/or a Whim Voucher (€8), which includes the same plus a visit to the Botanic Gardens to learn some more about the history of apple trees and cider making.