XXXV. TOPA! Cider Tasting in Donostia
The great day of cider arrived in Donostia
One more year, the Sagardo Eguna has filled the Plaza de la Constitución in Donostia with cider, culture and celebration. More than 5,000 people have attended the event and have been able to taste the best Gipuzkoan ciders.
This year it has been possible to taste the cider in a glass, an opportunity for those who have come to try the different ways of consuming cider.
In a festive atmosphere, those attending the Sagardo Eguna have enjoyed the numerous proposals around the culture of cider, offered by Sagardoa Route - Gipuzkoa Cider House Association -, organizers of the event together with the Donostia City Council, Donostia Festak, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the Basque Government.
38 cider houses, which belong to Sagardoa Route, have offered the public their best ciders from the 2021 harvest. With the music of trikitilaris and bertsolaris, approximately 8,000 bottles were served, accompanied by a variety of chorizo, cod omelette and cheese pintxos .
In addition to the tastings, the Cider House Association has presented different proposals to publicize the activity of cider producers and their ancient culture, full of secrets unknown to the general public. Like, for example, the artisan process of pressing the apple, which could be experienced live, including the tasting of the first must of the 2022 harvest.
Another of the activities of this Sagardo Eguna, which has generated interest among children and adults, was the exhibition on the different varieties of cider apples from the Fruitel Association, as well as the workshops on types of grafts and their techniques.
The emotional chapter of the day was the tribute to the cider makers Jose Ramón Rezola, from the Rezola cider house in Astigarraga, Isabel Garmendia and Jose Errandonea from the Ordo-Zelai cider house in Oiartzun, Demetrio Terradillos from the Urbitarte cider house in Ataun and Xanti Altuna and Mari Carmen Jauregi from the Altuna Cider House in Urnieta. These have received from the hand of the President and the Board of Directors the commemorative pin of the Association. On the other hand, they wanted to pay a special tribute to Simón Etxeberria, who died before being able to pay him tribute, and to Sidreria Petritegi, for being able to offer us pintxos on this day for all those years. At 12:30 and raising the glasses, the official toast took place with the cider producers, institutional representatives, guests and honorees. The owners of these cider houses have dedicated their lives to cider.
Sagardoa Route: Basque Country Cider Route, Information point and excursions in the world of cider
In this edition, the stand with general information on cider and cider houses, has served Sagardoa Route to present the products of its more than 53 associated cider houses, which produce more than 90 ciders of different varieties: natural, organic, sparkling, Crianzas, special, matured in wood, with hops, Denomination of Origin, organic juice and natural juice, among others.
On the other hand, September and the Sagardo Eguna offer the ideal opportunity, both for those at home and for visitors, not only to taste the cider at its peak, but to discover the characteristics of the product: a low-proof, refreshing and Fortunately, it maintains many of the characteristics and benefits of the apple. Drink in moderation, cider, in addition to being healthy, is delicious as a companion to countless dishes.
At this information point, visitors have also been able to get to know in depth the cider tourist excursions. There are more and more wineries that offer this type of experiences and tourist products related to the culture of cider. Bearing in mind that they are receiving more and more foreign visitors, cider houses are preparing to work hard in this sector.
In a context of new markets, Sagardoa Route is born, a project to renew the cider sector, which works to strengthen its structure, facilitate its adaptation to new scenarios, and adapt tradition to our times and to the different types of cider consumers , which is more varied every day.
As a result of defining the gastronomic and cultural experiences that cider houses have, SAGARDOA ROUTE has presented a wide range of tourist products this summer. The journey to our origins, the authenticity and veracity of the experience, and the closeness with the client are the strengths of this project. Being able to learn about the oldest and most traditional trades of our land, always directed and appropriate to our times, meeting the people who carry them out, tasting their products and enjoying the exceptional views offered by the Basque Country are the clear commitment of Sagardoa Route.
There are already 61 cider houses, distributed in different parts of the Basque territories, which are part of the Sagardoa Route project. The cider made in them over the centuries attests to the origins and history of Euskal Herria.
This 2022 school year starts with a greater force thanks to the SAGARRAREN TXOKOA project, created to work and entertain the little ones with experiences in nature and apple orchard tasks. We are working on this project with several schools and ikastolas and it is open to anyone who wants to be interested in it.
Euskal Sagardoa Denomination of Origin – the big bet
The Euskal Sagardoa Designation of Origin - Basque Cider has had its 5th harvest in 2021 and it will be this harvest that can be tasted during Donostia Cider Day. The ciders made with local apples will have a special role in the Plaza de la Constitución: each cider house will have ciders made with apples from their own apple trees and apple trees from neighboring farms, and among them there will be ciders made with a type of apple and two types of apples, apples from specific payments, aged in wood, aged on the lees from the previous harvest... In addition to producing high-quality ciders, the cider houses have also taken a great step to diversify their product, betting on the local apple, and Donostia is the perfect place to explain all this work, after a 2-year hiatus.
And following in the footsteps of recent years, the Regulatory Council is working to have a greater presence of the products both on the shelves and in the hotel industry, together with the cider makers, and explain the work carried out to consumers and give them a taste of all the products made by the sector.
Harvest 2022, fewer apples than in 2021
The 2021 harvest was abundant and of great quality in the Basque Country, and 3.5 million liters of Basque Cider were produced under the Designation of Origin, in 49 cider houses in Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia and Araba, with apples from 250 apple trees . The 2022 apple harvest is already underway, and even if it is soon, we have some data to anticipate: The harvest will be considerably smaller than the previous year and the apple will be of great character. The apple tree is a vecería tree, and this year it was sensed that the harvest would be smaller and the summer drought has not benefited the harvest either. Therefore, this year's harvest could be around 30% compared to last year's, but we will be able to provide this information in more detail later.