In the Asturias region, producers combine innovation and tradition to make different types of cider such as sparkling, natural, organic or even ice cider.
It’s impossible to get a feel for the Asturias region without visiting its apple orchards and cider mills.
Villaviciosa is the epicentre of Asturian cider production, which is a Denomination of Origin quality brand. The region is Spain’s largest cider producer and the fourth largest in Europe.
An apple orchards paradise
With fertile ground watered by the region’s largest estuary, Villaviciosa is an apple orchards paradise. This one belongs to Ovidio, an experienced apple grower.
“There are about 500 varieties in Asturias,” says apple grower Ovidio Tomás. “Here, qualifying for Denomination of Origin, we’ve 8 or 10.”
Only 76 varieties are recognised for cider that gets the Denomination of Origin label.
“Apples have to be tart and sweet for cider,” says Ovidio. “This is how it needs to be… sour and juicy”
Each apple brings a different flavour. Then it’s craftsmanship that will turn them into natural, organic, iced or sparkling ciders, like the one created in this cider-production house, one of the oldest in the region.
Tano Collada, from cider maker El Gaitero, comes from the fourth generation of cider makers. He selects the varieties, blending the right amount of acidity, sweet and bitter apples.
“Depending on the cider, we find different varieties,” he says. “Other ciders are crafted not by blending varieties but by analysing chemical and physical characteristics. If I want an amount of acidity and bitterness I mix 3, 4, 6, 8 or 10 varieties to get what I want”.