Drink up with Susy Atkins
There’s a cider out there for everyone, and the new breed are good enough to replace wine on your table. Wassail!
I can’t imagine anyone more enthusiastic about cider – proper, quality cider – than Susanna Forbes. As founder and author of drinkbritain.com, the writer found herself increasingly drawn to the Herefordshire cider scene. So, in late 2014, she upped sticks with her husband James and headed there to buy a house ‘with a beautiful little orchard’, near Bromyard. The couple duly set up their Little Pomona Orchard & Cidery (yes, cidery is a word, rather wonderfully).
Now, as her first ciders come on to the market, Susanna has found time to write an accessible but impassioned guide to the subject. The Cider Insider (Quadrille, £12.99) comes out on Thursday and serves as a paean to the author’s favourite producers around the world. There are 100 hand-selected craft ciders, and the compelling story behind each one – not only the many different apple varieties and methods of production, but vivid snapshots of the people and places that created them.
Britain gets a good look-in, of course, but international ciders do, too. The Americans, she says, ‘totally get the aspirational side of making fine cider, not just aiming for refreshment, but also for complexity, blending, balance’. Susanna aims for fully ripe flavours in her ciders, and has a 75cl ‘sharing bottle’ size, as do many these days, bringing a cider purchase more in line with wine (and with prices to match). Susanna’s book certainly makes this wine lover want to dive into a draught. It’s a cider inspirer, for sure.