La Sidra de Asturias
[A bubbling alternative at parties]
How could sparkling cider replace sparkling wine in ushering the new year? Well, that was precisely what happened in Madrid on 31 December 2004. In an act of defiance due to certain political matters, the Madrileños refuse to pay the cavamakers in Catalonia for their sparkling white wines that are traditionally served during such festivities in Spain. Thus the sparkling cider from Austurias graced all the tables in Madrid at that time. I happened to be in the capital city and at the end of my stay my immune system caved in. Little did I realize how much cider I gushed down as my friends kept pouring for one another at meal and snack times. The mere 4.5 percentage of alchohol in those green bottles certainly adds up.
Asturia is the region in the northwest of Spain that is known for its cider. Together with Galicia, and Bretagne in France, celtic/gaelic tradition have trickled into Asturia through the early settlers. You could see in this particular brand of sidra, which spots a bagpiper. (Bagpiper selling cider? Beats me.) It is a traditional drink and traces of it could be found in regional cooking as well.
Another northern region of Spain known for its cider is the Pais Vasco, or Basque Country. The taste of a Basque cider is slightly harder than its Asturian cousin. To learn more about spanish cider, check out La Sidra Asturiana's DO (designation of origin) website. It has a ton of information including types of apples and the history of cider.
Note to readers:
I'm off to France for 10 days. Upon my return, you shall feast on what I come across in Paris, Valence and Marseille. Hasta muy pronto. À bientôt!!