A traditional dry cider from Blaengawney Farm in Crumlin, in honour of St David’s Day
Cider. It’s perhaps not the first thing you think of when pondering the culinary heritage of Wales, the land of laverbread, bara brith, cockles and cawl. Yet the province is home to many of its own native varieties of apple and pear trees, which lend its brews an inimitable flavour—so much so, traditional Welsh cider was last year granted Protected Designated Origin status by the EU.
Indeed, much like elsewhere in the UK, Wales has a growing reputation for the quality of its small-batch ciders—and Hallets Real Cider, according to Mary Topp of The Cider House, is leading the way. “They’re definitely one to watch,” she enthuses. “Since winning the prestigious Best Drink Producer at the BBC Food and Farming Awards in 2016, they’ve really gone from strength to strength. We’re so pleased that their delicious liquid gold is now stocked at The Cider House.”
While the distinctive black bottle of Hallets’ traditional cider is a regular on the stall’s shelves, a draught cider called Heartbreaker has been brought in as a special guest drink this week, in honour of St David’s Day, which falls on Thursday—so catch it while you can.
“It’s one for the real apple connoisseur,” says Mary. “Made using all of the classic techniques of cider production—pressed in the autumn and slowly fermented in the depths of winter in the chilly Glyn Valley—it’s a true-to-form, traditional dry cider.” Aged in oak barrels, Hallets steers clear of the artificial syrups and flavours so often added to ciders and perrys; as its makers proclaim, “it’s just apple juice, pure and simple”. At seven per cent ABV, it’s dry with a tart green apple finish, “and packs a real punch,” says Mary. “It’s one of my absolute favourites.”
Hailing from Blaengawney Farm in Crumlin, a short drive from Caerphilly, the south Wales town that lends its name to the most famed of Welsh cheeses, it’d seem only right and proper to grab a pint, head to Gorwydd Caerphilly for a chunk of the crumbly stuff, and raise a glass to Dewi Sant.