Here we are, Week 3 of the COVID-19 outbreak and I have to be honest, being stuck inside for this long is starting to mess with me. As I was telling my new imaginary friend, Baron Von Pillowface, the other day, weeks of social isolation can really take a toll on your mental health if you’re not careful.
Having some sort of escape in these trying is absolutely necessary, he replied, which I thought was a good point, coming from a pile of couch cushions crudely arranged in the shape of a human.
Since hopping on a flight anywhere right now is an absolutely terrible idea, I thought this week I’d take a gastronomic trip instead.
The Basque region of Spain is one of the great capitals of food culture on this delicious planet of ours, and cider, or sidra, is a key element of the experience (At least, this what BVP tells me—sadly, I’ve never been there myself).
In the regions many sagardotegi, traditional basque cider is spontaneously fermented over the fall and winter and released in early spring—which is right about now! Typically it’s served still and poured from height straight from the txotx (cider barrel) in order to aerate the cider, and served with a salt cod omelette.
Sagardo, as it’s known in the borderline incomprehensible Basque language, is funky and musty, complex and dry. It’s not easy—but not impossible—to find the authentic stuff here in B.C., but thankfully there are a number of local cideries that are producing Basque-inspired ciders close to home.
Nomad Cider in Summerland is one of them, and its Sparkling Sagardo is a great introduction to this style, despite the fact that it’s carbonated (perhaps the B.C. cider market isn’t quite ready for still cider—but I hope that changes). It’s wild-fermented with B.C. apples, offering earthy, funky notes of orchard fruit and damp hay. The lovely tannic character ensures a bone-dry finish with a kiss of astringency, encouraging you to have another.
Thankfully you don’t even have to leave home to try it—you can order directly from Nomad’s online store and have it shipped right to your front door, shipped province-wide.
So close your eyes, take a sip and pretend you’re on the beach in San Sebastián—instead of sitting in a dank, lonely apartment surrounded by anthropomorphic home furnishings your quarantine-addled mind has given life to.
Sparkling Sagardo by Nomad Handcrafted Cider
New World Sagardo • 6.5% ABV • 500 mL bottles
Appearance: Brilliant straw gold.
Aroma: Earthy, fruity, apples.
Flavour: Fruity, earthy, tannic, damp hay, mild funk.
Body/Finish: Light bodied with a bone dry, slightly astringent finish.
Pairs with: Cod omelette, jamón serrano, full body hazmat suits and cabin fever.
- The Spring 2020 issue of The Growler is out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer and cider guide at your local brewery, cidery, select private liquor stores, and on newsstands across the province.