A rousing cheese and cider matching extravaganza in Matt Slocombe’s Cookery Theatre and the People’s Choice award going to the festival’s newest cidermaker, Broadway Press rounded off a lively Cider and Perry Festival at this year’s Royal Three Counties Show.
Festival manager, Lydia Crimp of Artistraw Cider once more crafted an engaging programme for the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association. With wildlife-focused presentations for school kids, reflections on his time in cider from the freshly retired orcharding legend, John Worle, plus tutored tastings from the likes of the Ciderologist, Gabe Cook, the festival appealed across ages, attracting cider-folk and general public alike.
Celebration at the bar
Awards judging took place on Friday in full view of visitors. The awards presentation kicked off proceedings on Saturday, while cidermakers old and new graced the Cider & Perry Bar. The newest producers on the block, Broadway Press, rubbed shoulders with Best in Show cidermaker Mattias Pihlwret of Out of the Orchard. While Naked Orchards and Artistraw made their Cider & Perry Bar debut, McCrindle’s, Fletchers and Halfpenny Green made a welcome return along with fellow stalwarts Pearson’s and Oldfields.
Alongside his core range, Richard Reynolds of Barbourne Cider launched his Major Jane cider, a softly tannic blend of Major and Jane, the relatively new Dabinett/Worcester Pearmain cross.
With the main silverware announced on Saturday, Sunday saw one final award made. Voted for by the public, Mike Pearson won the Mitchell Light Cider & Perry award, for cider with an abv of 4% or less.
Presses old and new
It wasn’t all cider or perry. Vigo Presses excelled, bringing presses large and small, fruit mills of all shapes, and even a baby still. Clive’s Fruit Farm boasted an extensive array of juices alongside its Wobblejuice cider and perries – and the sweetest strawberries on site.
Sunday’s events began with Hereford Cider Museum director, Elizabeth Pimblett donning seventeenth century garb to share the history of cider in eight objects. Later Artistraw’s ever-entertaining Tom Tibbits delighted his audience with his demonstration of the art and skill of grafting.
Jeremy Stunt, Authentic Cider put food pairing centre stage, with the help of a number of competition winners, including Out of the Orchard, Naked Orchards, and Oldfields Cider.
“Some people, wine enthusiasts, I was speaking to afterwards said that they had completely had their minds opened and would now be shopping for cider as well as wine,” said Lydia. “They, full of excitement, went directly to the bar to buy some perries to go with some fish that they had planned for supper!”
From the table to the orchard back to the table. Evidence that cider and perry has a vibrant culture which threads through all the important elements of life.
THANKS GO TO:
Festival manager, Lydia Crimp, Royal Three Counties Show, Matt Slocombe.
The Three Counties Cider & Perry Festival 2019 was generously sponsored by Vigo Ltd, the NACM and Cider Cellars.
Head to facebook for images of the show.
Full results of the competition can be found here.