Here at Armagh Cider Company, we were so excited and delighted to have global cider judge, expert, author and ambassador Gabe Cook, a.k.a. “The Ciderologist” with us to celebrate Armagh Food & Cider Weekend.
Gabe has worked for a range of cider makers from the smallest independent producers’ right up to the world’s largest. He has made appearances on C4’s Sunday Brunch, has just finished writing his first book, ‘Ciderology’, and has even presented a bottle of cider to the Queen! A captivating speaker, Gabe gave the guests on our tour us a tutored tasting of Armagh Cider Company’s range of ciders.
Gabe also gave an expert overview of the Bramley Apple and its unique PGI Status (Protected Geographical Indication), a legal status awarded by the European Commission to protect and promote the names of high quality regional foods and drinks and guard against their imitation.
Much like the grapes used to make Champagne, only Bramley apples grown in the designated area within the Archdiocese of Armagh can truly claim to be the genuine article. It is formal recognition that the cleaner, sharper and slightly tarter taste of the Armagh Bramley clearly distinguishes it from apples grown in other orchards in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
PGI status is a stamp of approval and credibility, and a testament to the quality of the Armagh Bramley apple. It also serves to reward the longstanding efforts, dedication and experience of local growers and all those who work with the Armagh Bramley apple and really puts Armagh Cider Company on the map as our Carson’s Crisp and Madden’s Mellow proudly hold the PGI status.
As well as enjoying Gabe’s wealth of knowledge and passion about cider, our guests had the opportunity to soak up the historic surroundings of Ballinteggart House and learn about the history of Armagh Cider Company. Based at Ballinteggart Estate, in the heart of the orchard county, we have been growing apples for four generations since the 1800’s. Our tours took guests through our beautiful orchards, which span 80 acres and have been nurtured by the family for over 100 years, where they learned about apple growing and production. They even got to pick and taste some of our 30 varieties of delicious apples themselves.
As well as meeting our Armagh Cider Company family and hearing about our passion and commitment to the industry, they got to tour the mill and the bottling hall where they were shown our complete artisan process of making multi-award winning cider ‘from blossom to bottle’, which produces a superior quality product with more texture and flavour than mass produced products. Of course, no tour would be complete without some delicious apple tart, tea and coffee and naturally, a bottle of cider to enjoy!