In an effort to cover all aspects of the Spanish beverage market, I’d like to offer this quick snapshot of Sidra – a dry or sweet, lightly alcoholic, beverage made from fermented apples.
Before I came to Spain, I expected to find wine and good food. These were givens in my head. I knew they existed and I was excited to explore all the intricacies that they held! What I did not expect to find was Sidra!
Spanish cider is a big part of life and the culinary landscape of Spain. Mainly produced in the North, there are 2 primary types of cider available throughout Spain.
First, sidra of Asturias is usually sweeter with a slight sparkle, which explodes into myriad flavors of apples and tends to complement the chorizos and seafoods unique to Spain. The second type of Sidra is from the Basque country. Usually a drier version than the one from Asturias, it sometimes is a bit austere; however, it is made more approachable by their unique serving method.
Served in a large glass, the host pours the sidra from above his head into a glass located in his other hand near his hip, filling it a little less than an inch high. Each table has one glass which is passed around and consumed in one gulp, only to be refilled again and again. The act of pouring takes out the austerity of the Sidra and softens it a bit to reveal more of the apple characteristics. Having fallen in love with English dry ciders and France’s artesinal ciders of the north before I left the states, this discovery was certainly a treat.
The best part though is how well they work with food. The acidity of an apple plays the perfect foil to fresh seafood and the sometimes sweet nature serves to mellow and expand the palate of flavors found in the countries rich Chorizo’s. This taken with the tradition of cooking with Sidra makes Sidra one of the more exciting drinks that I have encountered in Spain so far.
Next time you are in Spain make sure not to miss out on this unique Spanish treat. Sometimes the things you least expected to find can turn out to be the most interesting!
Miravalles (Sidra Natural)
Villaviciosa (Austurias), Spain
3.5 out of 5
Nose:7/10 Color:5/5 Taste:6/10 Palate:5/5 Overall:15/20
Bottled at Casa Mingo Madrid. Slightly cloudy gold with a delicate apple nose. Very dry in the mouth with a soft acid. Flavors of apple peal, and light fruit. Quite refreshing on a hot summers day!
Tinana, Asturias, Spain
3.5 out of 5
Nose:5/10 Color:5/5 Taste:6/10 Palate:4/5 Overall:15/20
Pale yellow gold in color, with a light soft apple-flesh nose, and some light wood notes. Strong acid shows on the palate, tough soft in texture with crisp apple flavors. Light dry, white grape background, with notes that resemble apple core. Delicate and ethereal.