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Cider with Rosie (well, Betty and Chris)

2nd January 2012




Members of the Gloucestershire MGOC were up and about early on Sunday, with 27 gathering just across the border in Herefordshire at the Westons visitor centre, which is open all year round. Full marks to Janet & David who made it on time despite not returning from Austria until late the night before.

The centre comprises of an award winning courtyard garden, (originally featured at the Hampton Court Palace Flower show in 2002), a Restaurant, Café and a Gift and a Cider Shop where you can sample the ciders and perries. 

Henry Weston came to 'The Bounds' at Much Marcle, Herefordshire in 1878 and continued the tradition of using fruit from the farm orchards to make cider and perry. At that time making and drinking cider and perry formed part of the pattern of life in the country as the water was not fit to drink! The development of commercial cider making began in 1880. Even the bar in the House of Commons now serves Westons cider.

Still based at the original farm 'The Bounds', Westons Cider today employs more than 178 people, produces over 30 different ciders and perries, sells approximately 46 million pints a year and has a turnover of over £35 million. The wide range of ciders and perries varies from cloudy scrumpy through to organic, & sparkling vintage.

We enjoyed a private guided tour around the mill, savouring the aromas of traditional cidermaking. Our guide explained how cider is produced, from the planting of the orchards, right through to the moment it is poured. You could not fail to be impressed with the enormous oak vats each containing anything from 1000-42000 gallons of cider. Each one is named, to add to the character. Tim was looking for the keys to the cider tanker, but none could be found.

We then sampled the ciders and perries FREE in the shop - over 30 ciders and perries to offer every palate a taste sensation; cloudy or clear, sweet or dry, still or sparkling, organic, vintage or low alcohol. Several members were seen hand in pocket queuing to buy.

The dining area, which was once a cowshed in the original cattle yard, was full of original features and character. A wood burning stove added a warm welcome on a cold but bright day. The menu (of course) heavily featured cider recipes (cider sausages, cider ham, cider pancake or fish in cider batter) – it must have been popular as empty plates were seen all round. Desserts disappeared equally quickly.

Many of us look forward to returning another day to explore their extensive menu.

P.S. Adrian, your secret is safe with us, no one will mention the car park incident!





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