Traditional Spanish cider will make a big splash in Edinburgh

When considering the food and drink traditions of Spain, cider may not immediately spring to mind – but in the northern region of Asturias, ‘sidra’ is a big part of the gastronomic culture.

That expertise will be on show in Scotland at the new Taste Spain Edinburgh trade event being held at The Balmoral Hotel, on Monday 20th May.

Asturian traditional cider-making methods have remained unchanged for centuries, with ‘natural’ cider the most widely produced style, using a fermentation process that relies only on those yeasts and sugars provided by the apples themselves.

The resulting cider is left unfiltered, and is straw yellow in appearance. Crucially, it needs to be ‘escanciado’ before serving – poured from a height into a glass to ‘wake up’ or release the dissolved gas, immediately before drinking. Thus the art of escanciar is an iconic spectacle wherever Asturian cider is served.

The region accounts for 80% of all cider produced in Spain. A more recent Asturian innovation is Nueva Expresión – New Expression cider – produced in the same method as natural cider, but then filtered and stabilized before bottling. The creation of this new category, often with more contemporary labels, has enabled Asturian cider to be enjoyed outside of the region and in restaurant settings – escanciado not required!

With a typical abv of 5% for both natural and sparkling ciders, Asturian cider is said to be versatile and very food friendly. It pairs well with the local hearty dish Fabada Asturiana, a stew made of creamy beans, pork and morcilla, as well as the regional blue cheeses, such as Cabrales and Picos Blue.

Its versatility with a wide range of foods and recognition as an artisanal product has influenced the gastronomic world – cider lists are now commonplace on menus of the finest restaurants in the region and around Spain.

Craft cider producers Trabanco and El Gaitero will be exhibiting natural, Nueva Expresión and natural sparkling ciders at Taste Spain Edinburgh on Monday 20th May at The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, alongside Spanish producers of artisan cheese, jamón-dry-cured ham, chorizo, olive oil, canned fish, beans, honey – and the ‘Wines from Spain’ Annual Tasting.