Sunday, 1 May 2011

Red, White & Blue at Cider & Cheese Festival

Wherever there's a well stocked cider bar, you're sure to find the Rockingham Forest Cider Picking & Panking Team in situ. Such was the case at this years Swan & Rushes Cider & Cheese Festival. Whilst I loitered on the fun side of the bar, our compact harvesting team Paul & Sue, gamely volunteered to help out at the sharp end, pouring, serving, and offering their expertise to customers throughout the Saturday session (whether they wanted it or not).


...and Cheese

For my part, I indulged in plenty of cider, perry, and as much cheese as my trembling arteries could handle. The cheese selection was a wonder to behold, and not a pineapple chunk in sight. My picks of the day were the hard as Parmesan Gorsehill Abbey St Kenelm, a mellow, sweetish cheese from very near where we harvest our cider apples and perry pears. Two Hoots Barkham Blue was a really creamy, classy blue; and the Wootton Dairy Ringwell Organic was both crumbly and creamy, with a moreish, slightly pungent flavour. This festival is worth visiting for the cheese alone.

But there was cider and perry too of course. I concentrated mainly on perries, including a sweetish Thorn and rich Greggs Pitt/Aylton Red/Blakeney Red blend from the ever reliable James Marsden of Greggs Pitt fame, plus excellent, well-balanced perries from Springherne and Barbourne.

As usual, the day went far too quickly, and I bid a sad farewell to the many cheeses and ciders I didn't get a chance to try. Congratulations to the Big Cheese himself Grant, and his hard working team for putting on such a fine festival.

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