Craft Cider, Delicious Nibbles + a Local Tour - The In-Cider Scoop on Ciderfest
WORDS + PHOTOS | Stef Richardson
Thankful to live here is an understatement. There is always something to see, somewhere to go or someone to see and I love that. As we all know by now, I’m a food-loving gal and can appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into a dish, a meal or even a craft cider. The Grey-Simcoe area is flooding with unique offerings in terms of cider and with an abundance of apples growing in the region, it only makes sense.
In spirit of celebrating all things cider, the Apple Pie Trail’s own Ciderfest is BACK and happening from June 7-16th - that’s 10 whole days of cider pairings and yummy nibbles to boot. Ciderfest locations span from Duntroon all the way over to Meaford, so there are opportunities for all.
Luckily for me, my friend Hannah is always down for a foodie road trip that usually consists of eating until we hurt and sampling all of the beer, wine, cider and spirit offerings. She made for one helluva great sidekick for a tour around Ciderfest and we were able to hit up 4 pit-stops over the course of the day. The sun was shining, the valley views were green and healthy and we were PUMPED to get sipping.
FIRST WE FUEL: Our morning called for some coffee, matcha latte’s and donuts from Good Grief Coffee in Thornbury because it just so happened to be National Donut Day. Hooray for that.
STOP 1: The Cheese Gallery w/ Spy Cider + Distillery
What a perfect place to start the day. The Cheese Gallery is one my favourite spots to go for gourmet cheese and all of the accompaniments. There is nothing that I love more than a beach picnic in the summer with a packed cheese + charcuterie board. Here we got to sample the Golden Eye by Spy as well as their new black current blend.
Golden Eye - paired with an aged cheddar from the Ottawa Valley (my personal fave)
Black Current - paired with Le Pizy (a soft roped cheese from Quebec)
*Spy isn’t open to the public yet so stay tuned for upcoming announcements on their social media. From what I’ve seen so far via sneak peaks, it looks stunning.
STOP 2: Beaver Valley Cidery
Located in the heart of the Beaver Valley, this cidery can be found in an old restored century barn where they make + taste all of their small batch ciders. Hannah and I were 2 of few on the property at the time and it felt magical. Nature to ourselves. We tasted a few of their staple ciders including: Ginger, Cranberry, Bumbleberry, Dry Pear, Vinifera, and their Flagship Cider (which was my personal fave for the distinct + delicious apple punch).
After enjoying our sample, we took a glass, some fresh sushi and enjoy some peaceful moments + conversation along the back property while sitting comfy in some muskoka chairs.
STOP 3: Ardiel Cider House at Georgian Hills Vineyard
Ardiel Cider showed uppppp today. Hannah and I sampled their Premium Dry Cider, Big John Hop Cider, Victoria Pear Cider and an aged cider that is currently not available in LCBO’s. All ciders were enjoyed patio side and paired with a little cheese, charcuterie and their homemade curried chutney that was SO BOMB. *still thinking about it*
STOP 4: Duntroon Cyder House
This was our last stop of the day and it was a goodie. To be honest, I didn’t even know Duntroon Cyder House had a spot to come and taste! Happy to have journeyed out this way to check it out - it’s seriously adorable and the cider is 10/10. Their tasting spot is small, but on a nice day they have their doors open with a full fridge stocked for take-home ciders and some lovely seats beside the pond for you to hang at. Once again, we found ourselves with the place to ourselves and what a perfect day it was to enjoy some cider samples along with their vegetarian curry. So much yum!
Owners Kimberly and Tim happened to be hanging close by and they were so kind. Pumped to see some eager passport holders out and enjoying the day. Really though, ciderfest is much more than just sipping + eating. It’s about supporting and celebrating the group of people making, growing and selling some incredible locally made products. Cheers to you and all that you bring to our community.
Unfortunately we didn’t make it to Kaytoo, Thornbury Cidery or Coffin Ridge (yet anyway) but they deserve a visit. They have some of my favourite products; Forbidden Pink and the Earl Grey Lavender from CR + the Blueberry Cider from Thornbury if you wanted to know.
It was a really fun day. Got to hang with my gal Hannah, sip some cider’s that I hadn’t tasted before and enjoyed some thoughtfully paired nibbles. The best part? This was all within a short 30km drive - essentially my backyard. FOLKS - there is still 3 days left to enjoy all of Ciderfest. As I’ve proven, you can really pack a lot into one day. Don’t have plans this weekend? Hit up Ciderfest. It’s an incredible deal. That’s 7 stops of delicious food, cider and quality time with you and your friends. Or your dog, or your lover, or mom, dad whoever.
Visit here for more information and make this a thing.
*Passports can be purchased at all Ciderfest stops
$30 + tx Valid Monday – Friday Only
$50 + tx Valid 7 Days a Week