Asturias offers an abundance of fertile soil which is perfect for growing apples. The result: a region renowned for its production of the refreshing and social drink of cider, dedicating 7,000 of its precious hectares to pumarada (apple growing land). This drink and all that it involves has formed deep roots in the culture of the Asturian people.
Our second day in Asturias found us catching yet another bus to visit the heart of the tradition that surrounds this drink, the town of Nava. After treating ourselves to a late morning snack of local Cabrales cheese and Asturian chorizo in the morning sun of the Plaza Mayor (Main Square), we paid a visit to the Cider Museum. At the beginning of this visit we were presented with an apple, and Gala ‘Queen of Apples’ used her royal magic to make it in to cider using the machines exhibited.
The visit was very exciting and we learnt a lot about the production as well as the customs of drinking cider. This drink is made to share, to the extent that the bottles are made the right size to share in a group with enough left to throw a bit on the ground to give something back and say thank you. Drinking cider requires a specific pouring technique called escanciado for the drink to be enjoyed at it’s best. This ritual of pouring the cider from up high, so the liquid splashes against the side of the glass and brings out the flavours (which then must be drunk immediately, all in one!), gives cider its social element. You can thus see why the Asturians are renowned for being merry…
Our trail continued on a country walk out of the city, jolly after the cider tasting, to take a peek at the apple orchards and the picturesque surrounding countryside, leaving a trail of seeds and popcorn Hansel and Gretel style behind us and singing the cider song on our way ‘A Mi Me Gusta La Sidra‘ (I like cider)!
The singing continued on our return to Oviedo where we set up camp in the main square to watch a Brazilian band ‘Rafaga’ performing their sound check for a concert that evening. What a merry afternoon!