A is for … Apple juice and Ale

… both of which can be found at The Pantry Christmas Market this Saturday.

First, for the second year running, we are very proud to offer our own Piddington Village Apple Juice, made exclusively from fruit grown in the village. The apples were all donated by villagers at the Apple Day in October, and, after the Piddington cider makers had filled their containers with sufficient freshly pressed juice to experiment with a 2017 vintage, the remaining apples were all taken to be pressed and bottled for us by Drovers Hill Farm in the Chilterns. Piddington Village Apple Juice makes a wonderful very locally sourced gift. And because it has been properly bottled, the juice has a long shelf-life.

2016-juice-1-cropped

The Pantry Beer Stall features two new breweries this time: Loddon Brewery, near Reading, and The Shotover Brewing Company in Horspath, just outside Oxford.

From Loddon Brewery we’ll be selling four ales: Ferryman’s Gold (4.8%;
‘Golden, smooth, aromatic and zesty’), Hocus Pocus Old Ale (5.0%;
‘Rich, smooth and ruby in colour’), Hoppit (3.9%;
‘Highly hopped session ale’) and the quite special Night of the Stag (4.4%; ‘Murderously good beer’), brewed especially for an episode of Midsomer Murders of the same name that was filmed at the brewery. (Though the brewery was turned into a cider producer!) You can see some photos of the filming here.

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From The Shotover Brewing Company we have these four beers with an Oxford connection: Trinity (4.2%; ‘A pale gold intensely hoppy beer’), Prospect (3.7%; ‘A session bitter full of hoppy character and flavour’), Scholar (4.5%; A’ classic mid-strength, complex English bitter’) and Oxford Porter (5%; ‘A smooth, rich, dark, flavour packed beer’).

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And from our two regular breweries we’ll have:

From Vale Brewery, Good King Senseless (5.0%; ‘Rich ruby red seasonal ale’), Red Kite (4.3%; ‘Deep red hoppy chestnut bitter’) and Gravitas (4.8%; ‘Single hopped premium pale ale’.

And from XT Brewing Co., Penguin (4.6%; ‘Spiced seasonal ale’), XT 1 (4.2%; ‘Blonde’), XT 4 (3.8%; ‘Mellow amber’) and XT 9 (5.5%; ‘Black ale’).

All these ales and our own apple juice would make a perfect local gift hamper when combined with some other products made in the village or nearby, e.g. Piddington Apple Chutney, Rosemary’s Jams, Oxford Blue Cheese, Islip Mill Honey or Shaken Oak Mustard. You can find them all in the General Store.

We have some interesting new stallholders this time too. I’ll focus on some of them before the market.

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Piddington Apple Day 2016

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Piddington Apple Day, 22 October 2016. Photo: Mario Terzino

Before we throw ourselves fully into preparing for The Pantry Christmas Market, I just wanted to celebrate our village’s second Apple Day, held this year on 22nd October.

From a small pip of an idea, begun at our very first Apple Day, last October, the Piddington ‘Apple Corps’ have continued their enthusiasm for all things relating to village apple trees and their fruit.

The first initiative – to get the first pressings of Piddington Blend Apple and Apple and Pear Juice to market – was a huge success, with stocks selling well at The Pantry markets and at the village Pop-Up Pubs throughout the year.

The next step was to investigate the possibility of using some of Piddington’s apple juice to make cider. And so the Piddington Cider Alchemists (and Friends) came into existence. Weeks of nervously watching, testing and encouraging Tom, Dick, Harry, Dave (the four fermenting vessels) were rewarded in July by the first bottles of Piddington Cider

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This year’s Apple Day was a much bigger event. The weather was perfect (again! – at The Pantry we can only dream of such weather!), lots of people turned up to sort, wash, chop, scrat, pour, press and even dance to the great live music from Barney Newman and Tom Leary. The Harvest Supper afterwards was lovely, with lots of villagers contributing to the delicious spread. I’ve posted a few photos below, but if you’d like to see more, please go to the Piddington village website.

As well as being a wonderful day for the village, with people of all ages coming together to work hard and have great fun, the results of Apple Day 2016 are that …

  • Every apple was a Piddington-grown apple and every last one of them was used – either pressed on the day for juice for cider or taken off for pressing and bottling as Piddington Village Apple Juice, which will be available to buy at The Pantry Christmas Market on 3rd December (put that date in your diary now!) and of course will also be available at future village events and pub nights.
  • We more than achieved our cider juice target. Just over 250 litres of juice went in to the fermenters and demijohns – a 78% increase on last year’s 140 litres!
  • Proceeds from the auctions and donations from everyone were divided equally between the Church and the Village Hall.

 
The Cider Alchemists have already begun the mysterious process of turning this year’s juice into cider, and the vessels, hidden away in their top secret winter quarters, are now quietly fermenting. Read more about our community apple project here.

In the meantime, keep a lookout for ‘Piddington Apple Day – The Movie!’