I recently popped down to Orange to see my dear friends who moved out here for a sea (farm?) change. They bought their little slice of Orange and are building their dream home using the existing cottage as a frame and extending from there.
Every time I come out here I am relaxed within minutes of jumping out of the car. I have never been a country girl (despite growing up on a farm) – but every time I come out here, I always reconsider. I know some of you will be laughing because most of Australia considers Canberra to be a big country town – but I disagree, Canberra will always be a city to me 😉
The weekend was spent catching up and drinking endless cups of tea & pottering around town. We took a visit to Small Acres Cyder and I really wanted to share it with you. Ellie took me here few years back and I had to go back with the mister to sample their latest range.
Owned and run by Gail and James Kendell, originally from the UK, Small Acres make premium cider made with the fresh juice of apples and pears, using traditional methods of authentic cider production. Much like wine, most of their ciders actually mature in the bottle.
As soon as you arrive you’re greeted by lush green surrounds and a gorgeous lake.
Their dogs, “Coppin” (which is short for the cider apple Sweet Coppin) and “Pippin” (which is short for the cider apple Princess Pippin) will be there to greet you too.
Gail was kind enough to greet us a bit before normal opening time so we could chat about all things cider. We took a walk through the orchard so we could take a look at the apple blossoms.
It’s hard not to get caught up in her enthusiasm for making cider as she told me their story.
It all started because being traditionally British & growing up on cider made from cider apples, Gail & James noticed the lack of quality cider in Australia so decided to try their hand at making their own. They chose Orange due to it’s location on the foothills (elevation of 892m) of Mount Canobolas and having the cool climate and rich volcanic soil ideal for growing the magic ingredients; apples and pears.
When James & Gail started to look for cider apple orchards they found that 30 years previous, Bulmers had planted a cider apple orchard in the area for potential future use, but unfortunately had pulled this out just months previous. Such luck! But that didn’t stop them, they set up their now thriving cider apple orchard by using root stock from Tasmania and then grafting them with cider apple trees.
They definitely had the knack for it; now having 5 acres under orchard.
They produce their ciders using mostly apples & pears they grow themselves (and some from their neighbours) with a few eating apples mixed in for sweetness.
After a brief snoop around the orchard we headed inside to taste their range.
We sampled almost their entire range – starting with their specialty ciders.
First up was the Somerset Still – a farmhouse style cider made from earthy green apples. It was very crisp & acidic with a bone dry finish. Their brochure recommends you serve ice cold with slow roasted pork or or a mushroom risotto.
Next up was the Sparkling Perry, which is made from 100% fresh pear juice. It had a divine aroma, was clean and fresh with a medium-dry finish. You could pear-it with seafood or fresh summer salads.
Gail talked us through the process of making the cider which is somewhat similar to champagne production.
Next we tried the Norfolk Still which is made from fresh red apples and has a medium-dry finish. I would eat this with spicy asian food or hot curries.
Then we moved on to their sweet cider, the Appscato, an intense medium-sweet moscato style cider with aromas of apple blossom and softly sparkling texture. I’d have this as a sweet treat after dinner or for a champagne breakfast. A few croissants, buttered toast & you’re in heaven!
Next we tried the dessert style ciders and their house made aperitif.
First up was the Pomona Ice which is a typical dessert (ice) cider made from late harvest apples. The juice is concentrated by freezing and and extracting the best bits to create a deliciously sweet & sticky cider – perfect with a cheese plate or rich dessert.
Last but not least was the Pommeau, a Normandy style aperitif which takes four years to make and is matured in French oak barrels. It had a soft apple flavour with a hint of toffee. I could easily drink this with a plate of blue cheese or apple pie.
Before giving in to our rumbling bellies, we tried their range of Pomme & Poire carbonated cider – being a more beer-style cider – it’s perfect for picnics or bbqs. You could drink this far too easily!
My favourite was the Perry whereas the mister loved the Somerset Still. We also took home a bottle of their Sparkling to try at home.
It is no surprise that at the recent Cider Awards in Melbourne, they took out 6 awards including Best in Class for Fortified Cider (Pommeau) and Best in Class for Ice Cider (Pomona Ice).
Gail & James were kind enough to give me a mixed case (of Poire and Pomme carbonated cider) to give away to Macadames readers. Use the link below, head on over to our social pages to follow/pin/like to go in the running to win the mixed case! Competition details below.
And if you’re in the region, keep an eye out on their events page for upcoming lunch events such as the Cider & Good English Bangers & Mash Lunch (taste their premium cider range & feast on proper English sausages drenched in a cider sauce) or the Disgorging Discovery (learn how the bubbles are created and then disgorge your very own bottle of sparkling cider while snacking on matched tapas). Please note bookings for these events are essential.
Won’t be in Orange for a while? Don’t worry, they also have an online store so you can order directly using this link.
Or better yet, go in our competition to win a Poire & Pomme mixed case delivered right to your doorstep. Please note you MUST have an Australian address for postage and you MUST be over 18 years old (proof of age will be required). Use the rafflecopter link below to enter. Good luck!
The perfect place for: Sampling delicious local cider or enjoying lovely lunches matched with ciders.
Address: 12 Akhurst Road, Borenore, NSW 2800
Open: Saturday & Sunday 11am – 4pm
Phone: 02 6365 2286
Bookings: Only required for their events
Cider is one of those delicious drops that you can drink in any season. The dry ciders are perfect served ice cold for the summer and the medium-sweet cider is lovely warmed up for the winter. You can even use it in cooking – think Pumpkin Cider Bread or Crockpot Cider Beef Stew. Enjoy!
But when you’re in the region, put Small Acres on the top of your list to visit. Let me know what you think.
Don’t forget to hashtag #winewiththemacadames if you visit this venue, we love to see you exploring the gorgeous regional town of Orange.
Anisa – The Macadames. xx