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.


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.


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’).


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.


Piddington Apple Day 2016

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


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!’

The Pantry Spring Market

Pantry spring 2016 colour A4-page-0

Go Piddington!

VH Xmas Pantry pic
The very first Pantry market, 1 December 2012.

Wow! We have a record number of village people (no, not them) selling their wares at the Christmas market on Saturday 5 December. Please come and support them, and make this a really special third anniversary.

Avon: Jackie Cooper-Smith has been Piddington’s Avon representative for many years, and will be offering a range of toiletries, cosmetics and gifts from this popular and great value range. You’re bound to find plenty of gifts and stocking fillers for all your family and friends as well as something to make you look fabulous throughout the festivities.

c17_christmas_secondaryspotKim’s Jewels: Kim Elliott, who has recently moved to the village, will be selling handmade glass jewellery, along with other costume jewellery, scarves and accessories, all reasonably priced.

Pea Green Designs: Alex White, another Piddington resident, offers an eclectic variety of home accessories and gifts, from ceramic tealight holders to reindeer hides. They are upmarket but keenly priced – I promise you won’t be able to resist buying something, even if it’s just a little silvery bird Christmas decoration. They flew off the stall at the last market – well, not literally!


Liz Tagert: Liz, who also lives in the village, is selling kitchen wares and home goods.

Of course, there are also the Piddington Bakers, villagers who bake delicious homemade cakes to sell in aid of St Nicholas’s Church fabric fund. As this is for the benefit of the village, The Pantry waives the fee for the stall – so everyone benefits. And we all get to scoff cake.

Cake stall collage1

As well as Piddington people selling their wares, we also have even more local treats made from the village’s own produce.

You may already be a fan of Piddington Christmas Chutney, made by Jim and Jules from Piddington apples. We’ll be selling this again – and Rosemary (another longstanding Piddington resident) – has made up another collection of her fantastic Hedgerow Jams and Jellies, which she creates using the good things growing around the village.

Cherwell-20131205-00540 (2)

Last year, you may have bought these two together – as ‘A Piddington Pair’ – and you’ll be able to do so again. This year, however, you’ll be spoilt for choice, as we’ll also be selling the the range of three Piddington apple juice blends: Piddington Apple Juice, Piddington Apple and Pear Juice and Piddington Apple Juice – Cider Day Blend. The juices have all been pasteurised, so they’ll keep for a long time.

Piddington BlendIf you live in Piddington, you’ll know that the Cider Day Blend (no photograph, as we haven’t collected it from the apple presser/bottler yet) was made with the apples remaining after our first village Apple-pressing Day on 31 October. This event was intended to provide enough juice from apples donated by villagers to produce a trial batch of Piddington Cider.

To say the day was a huge success would be an understatement. It brought people together in an atmosphere of industrious hilarity, the number of apples – and pears – donated was incredible, and the great cider experiment is well under way. You can read more about this new village venture, follow the progress of Tom, Dick, Harry and Dave – and see the incriminating photographs – here.