September 21 and 22 are the dates for the second Slow Food Apple & Craft Cider Festival and Irish cider is coming of age.
Building on the success of the inaugural festival in 2012, the newly named Applefest, hosted by The Apple Farm, Cahir is to host the first Irish craft-cider competition at its annual celebration of all things apple.
Organised by Cider Ireland, the group that represents Irish craft cider-makers, the blind-tasting competition is a true test of the cider-maker’s skill.
The adjudicating panel consists of Alex Hill, cider-maker and Managing Director at Vigo, a leading supplier to the craft cider industry in the UK & Europe; Leslie Williams, wine writer and food columnist with the Irish Examiner and Tom Clancy, wine writer and journalist.
There is a competition for commercial Irish craft ciders.This year at Applefest there will be fourteen cider makers and twenty six commercially available ciders, including a number of brand new ciders that will make their first public appearance.
All but one are Irish.
Unlike traditional beer and cider festivals Applefest is very much a family event with good food and entertainment. This year also sees the introduction of another competition, the Slow Food traditional Irish apple tart competition. Paul Deegan, the festival organiser said “The apple tart has been at the heart of many an Irish kitchen for generations. We are looking for the best traditional home-baked apple tart in Ireland and we have a very special judge to pick a winner. I don’t want to give too much away but I cannot think of anyone better qualified to judge it.”
As well as the competitions, there will be a spectacular Slow Food Barbecue on Saturday evening, cider-making demonstrations, orchard tours, food-matching workshops, home juice and cider-making equipment and even apple trees for the forward looking enthusiast. All workshops, tours and demonstrations are free.
Applefest takes place at The Apple Farm, Moorstown, Cahir. The car park costs €5. Tickets for cider-tasting are €7. The Slow Food Barbecue is €30 a head and promises to be the stand-out food event of the harvest season.