About real cider
Cider is a century-old drink made from fermented apple juice that is especially popular in areas where a lot of apples are grown. Important cider areas within Europe can be found in the west of England, Brittany and Normandy in France, northern Spain and southwest Germany.
At Appels & Peren we only sell artisanal cider: real cider made from 100% pure apple juice. Thus, no added flavours, fragrances or colourings.
The presence of alcohol is a natural result of the fermentation process in which the natural sugars are converted to alcohol in the apples. The ciders are produced by small and medium companies, using apples generally grown in their own orchards.
Artisanal cider (like wine) is a seasonal product, in contrast to the ciders that are offered by the large commercial cider producers. Those are made of approximately 35 to 50% concentrated apple juice and 50 to 65% glucose syrup and can be produced throughout the year.
Artisanal cider is made in the autumn when the apples are ripe. The cider ferments and ages in the winter and is ready for consumption at the start of the summer.
The taste of cider
The taste of ciders can vary greatly. They vary from sweet to dry and can be more or less sour and/or bitter.
Sweet, sour and bitter are then the three basic flavours of cider. That is not to say that all three (and in equal amounts) must be contained in a cider, but these three flavours give a cider balance and structure.
Sour (malic acid) enhances the flavour and cider gives a certain freshness. A cider that contains no acid is bland and lacks backbone.
Bitter (with cider, we refer to tannins) leaves a dry feeling in the mouth and gives depth to a cider.
Sweet cider has a full taste and provides a counterbalance to bitter and/or sour.
Sweet, sour and bitter form the framework of a cider. In addition to these three basic flavours, a cider may contain other flavours. These flavours often are not derived from apples, but they give the cider more depth and complexity. Some examples are: herbs, flowers, caramel, nuts and also fruit flavours like citrus and berries.
A large group of traditional cider producers makes use of the fermentation from the yeasts that occur naturally on the apples. Wild yeasts can produce wild flavours! Fragrances and flavours can arise here that might not be to everyone’s taste, at first. We’re referring to odours and flavours that are often described as “stable” air, cheese, vinegar, etc. Nevertheless, these flavours can give additional character to a cider, as long as they’re not too overbearing.