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Brunch at Windermere Cider
The Overberg’s Elgin Valley is fast becoming known for good artisanal ciders.
Windermere Cider has been slumbering since 1994 on a local apple farm, but has recently been resurrected by master cider maker Andre le Roux. Tamsin Mullins is assisting in the process and I was recently given a sneak preview during a delightful farmhouse brunch.
Commercial ciders are in and out of the factory within a week or so, but a good handmade cider takes up to nine months to be market ready. Apples are hand picked in May, sorted, crushed, the juice separated from the pulp and poured into tanks (with oak chips) for six months’ natural fermentation. This is then drained, filtered and matured for another 3 months before it’s ready for bottling.
Windermere uses a variety of their own apples during the apple season, but in a set combination, to ensure that the ciders have a uniform taste. (Compare this with other artisanal ciders, of which the taste may differ over time – especially if they are made over longer periods in the year, as they sometimes buy in different apples from various farms as available.)
Windermere farm will be open for visits over the famous Elgin Open Gardens season 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th November (though they are not formally on the list of open gardens). They are also open for burgers and cider the last Sunday of the month, weather dependant, but strictly on arrangement only, so do not just pitch!
For those of you who have been wondering when we’ll get some locally made Calvados – the first batch is busy maturing as we speak but as this takes time and patience, it will not be on the market any time soon. But watch this space!
A MCC (Method Cap Classique) apple cider will also be on the shelves soon (if we were in France we might have been able to call it apple champagne). Expert James Gower of Oude Molen, an Elgin brandy distillery, is providing the finer tweaks to make this a memorable bottle, ideal for toasting a special event, if you are looking for something more special than ordinary sparkling wine.
Windermere Cider is on tap at the Long Street Beerhouse, for sale at the local Pergerine Farm stall on the N2 just outside Grabouw, and at Wine & Co. at Hermanus’ Hemel en Aarde Centre.
Blue Rock restaurant in Sir Lowry’s Pass serves it as well as the trendy new Pool Room Restaurant at Oak Valley just outside Grabouw.
For more information on Windermere Cider: http://www.windermerecider.co.za
For more information on the Elgin Open Gardens: http://www.elginopengardens.co.za