Cider in Asturias is more than a drink. It is a culture and a way of life that begins in the pomarada, passes through the llagar and ends in the chigre and in espichas, seasoned with gastronomy and music.
Asturian cider is a symbol of identity, deeply rooted and differential with other territories and cultures. Apples are one of the most characteristic fruits of Asturias, where there are more than 500 types. Elaboration process begins in the spring season with the flowering of apple trees, a spectacle to contemplate in pomaradas – set of apple trees -, and continues in the winery or llagar where it is transformed into cider. More than 45 million liters of cider are produced, distributed among the 80 wineries in the region, located mostly in Gijón, Villaviciosa, Nava and Siero (Comarca de la Sidra). Of all this production, 95% is consumed in Asturias, which in turn is the Community that produces 80% of the cider made in Spain. The consumption is preferably made in restaurants, cider houses and llagares, where the typical gastronomic festivals known as espichas are usually held, and it is also very common, especially in spring and summer, their consumption in pilgrimages and verbenas.
Asturian cider has the uniqueness that it is the only one that is escanciada in the world. What is it and why is it done? It is the act of serving cider by throwing it with the upright arm, taking the bottle with the right hand and a glass with the left, with the thumb and forefinger surrounding the glass and the heart finger in the background. After adopting this position cider falls from a considerable height abruptly and espalma, that is, it breaks into a foam when hitting the edge of the glass. Proper ‘oxygenation’ is assured and cider ready to drink from a glass or culin. In addition, the entire contents of the glass are not drunk, but left a little to clean where it has been drunk, since cider glass is shared. A show full of technique and tradition.
‘Sidra de Asturias’ Protected Designation of Origin
The ‘Sidra de Asturias’ Protected Designation of Origin is a collective brand and the beneficiaries are apple and cider producers in the region, who undergo quality controls imposed by the Regulatory Council. This PDO comprises a niche market, a product and a determining quality. The supply of agro-food products with PDO, such as the Asturian Cider, increases their value because their use is exclusive to members and is accompanied by a product quality certification.
It is a comprehensive concept that is of significant importance for cider industry as it constitutes a valuable legal instrument for the development of their economy, and is aimed at collective promotion guaranteeing quality, origin, as well as tradition and product history which are the result of the intimate link between human groups and the land they come from.