Cider Museum Of Asturias

August 27, 2019

The best place to get to know the Spanish cider (sidra) is naturally: the Cider Shire, and the best place to start your excursion is the Cider Museum in Nava. Stretching out from the eastern coast of Asturias to the inland, the Cider Shire (with its 570 square kilometres) covers a rolling landscape of apple orchards and sandy coves.

Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of museums, this particular museum in Nava, capital of the Cider Shire, is a rewarding experience nonetheless! Guided by inspired professionals, the journey takes you through different aspects of the cider culture in an interactive way.

The Cider Shire

The Cider Shire is at its prettiest in September and October, when the trees are heavy with bright red and yellow apples. Apple trees cover some 7,000 hectares of the Asturian land, but this is no longer enough to meet the cider consumption. More and more apples are imported from France, the Czech Republic and other countries growing cider apples. Although 80% of the Asturian cider is consumed in Spain, its popularity is booming abroad too.

apples-from-the-cider-shire

In late autumn, you can watch people shaking the trees and picking up the fallen apples into sacks. Labouring in the orchards is combined with colourful harvest festivals. The most famous is the Apple Festival, Festival de la Manzana, which takes place every two years in Villaviciosa.

The festivities usually start with the offering of the first fruit, which is pressed in the main square. Besides harvest festivals, there are cider related fiestas for all seasons in Asturias too.

Asturian Cider

For Asturians, the cider is much more than making an alcoholic beverage from apples and consuming it in restaurants.

Depending on the proportion of sweet and bitter apples, the result is a cider that is thicker or thinner, more or less coloured, and with less or more alcohol. Cider made of the original Asturian apple varieties, and approved by the Control Board of Protected Designation of Origin have bared the DOP label of “Cider of Asturias” since 2001. All these ciders have minimum of 5% of alcohol.

Cider has been around for absolute ages, well documented in Asturias since the Middle Ages. Originally it was not poured from bottles but tapped off from barrels called pipas. In modern cider houses, you can follow the conveyor where the bottles travel in a steady stream from one phase to another, being filled, corked, and labelled automatically.

Unlike wine, the cider likes to be disturbed. The cider cases are loaded in a machine, which keeps shaking them for some 15 minutes. Earlier this necessary movement was arranged by driving along the winding roads in a truck or cart.

Making Asturias Cider: From Press To Bottle

In the Cider Museum, you follow the apples from the fields to the cider houses. Formerly, the machinery, including the impressive looking cider-press and the barrels, were made of chestnut or oak. However, in modern cider factories, steel has largely replaced wood.

apple-orchards-in-nava

The apple juice ferments first in steel containers before the liquid starts its fermentation process in wooden barrels. This process can take at least six months, but the cider made of Asturian apples takes triple this time!

Also, the methods of preparing natural cider and sparkling cider are different. The traditional cider is natural without any filtration. It is still the most common type, but the modern sparkling cider with slow alcoholic fermentation in lower temperatures is becoming more popular each year.

How To Enjoy Asturian Cider

Cider is offered in almost all Asturian bars and restaurants, but the “sidrerias” (cider houses) are the heart of cider drinking. In the villages of the Cider Shire, you will find many sidrerias with special menus combining cider with the typical dishes of the county.

The Cider Museum is a good place to practise both the pouring and drinking of cider. Pouring is difficult, but you do not need to worry about this, because waiters take care of it in cider houses for you.

pouring-apple-cider-in-spain

Watching how the cider is dropped from overhead into a wide glass held down below the waist is an amazing experience. The reason for this complicated method is to wake the bubbles of the cider. Each pour delivers a small quantity, only a couple of fingers. The best way to drink this is slowly, steadily and all in one go.

Sidrerias Games

People come to sidrerias to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed setting of food, drinks, games, and music.

In the Cider Museum, you can try the old and new games of sidrerias. A good example of an easy and amusing pastime is the “Frog”, in which you score the highest points by hitting the frog’s mouth with a metal plate. Cider songs accompanied on bagpipes belong to the traditions as well. The museum has electronic bagpipes and multimedia presentations on cider songs and poems.

Final Thoughts

The museum takes visitors through all the steps of the cider-making process and shows the traditions that surround this typical beverage of Asturias. What better way to experience something so unique?

Exhibits are divided into four areas: the apple growing process, the cider-making process, the realm of cider and a section devoted to sparkling cider.

View the schedule of the cider museum of Asturias, and book your tickets online to embark on a truly different Spanish experience of a lifetime:

Schedule Of Cider Museum Tours:

Monday
Closed

Tuesday

11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Wednesday
11:00 to 14:00
16:00 to 19:00

Thursday
11:00 to 14:00
4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Friday
11:00 to 14:00
16:00 to 19:00

Saturday
11:00 to 15:00
16:30 to 20:00

Sunday
11:00 to 14:00

Contact Info

Address: Plaza Principe de Asturias, 33520 Nava (Asturias)

Phone: +34 985717422

Email: info@museodelasidra.com

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