There's something completely wonderful about sitting in front of my laptop to blog with a mug of tea on a Sunday morning. Love it! Yesterday, a dozen of us made the "pilgrimage" to the tiny town of Batlow, a town in country NSW renowned for apple growers. What better excuse to go than for the annual Batlow CiderFest. Psyched!
|Random photo spot! Autumn leaf cover in the park|
|The appropriately designed info booth!|
It was a windy bus-ride through the rolling hills of country NSW (listening to this and this). When we arrived we were buffeted by some icy winds...Man, it was cold. The day hovered at a chilly 5 degrees, with only patchy sun shine. Let's just say some of my fellow festival goers were forced to do some emergency thrift shopping!
|Boutique cider company, The Apple Thief's Charlie Ostaszewski - a little self promotion never hurt anyone!|
The whole she-bang was all that I could have hoped for. Pioneer Street was closed off and furnished with long tables with stalls down the edges. Lots of local producers were showcasing the region's best produce - apples, root veg and preserves. Cafe Nest of Tumbarumba provided the morning's requisite coffee. A bag of roasted chestnuts makes the perfect snack for market perusing too ;) Throughout the day there was entertainment on a make shift stage including some lovely acoustic versions of Bon Iver and Jack Johnson tunes. Very suited! And so we embarked on an apple themed dining and cider drinking odyssey...
The mission of the day was to taste each of the ciders and rank them (as you do). My personal favourite was the Small Acres Pear cider - a small company that I had never heard of until yesterday. I haven't seen it sold in mainstream shops either, this needs to change. The subtle flavours of these ciders make them go down very easy! Batlow Premium Cider's Cloudy Cider was also a huge seller, and actually sold out at some point! The Apple Thief, a relative newcomer on the scene was a bit of a hit amongst festival goers with their Apple Cider cocktail of a mix of ciders, mint, fresh apple and Absolut Wild Tea. I found their Granny Smith cider to be quite tart, preferring the William Pear and Pink Lady ciders instead. We were becoming quite the connoisseurs by the end haha!
|Definitely couldn't go past a warm apple pie on a day like this. The apple pie on offer by Batlow's local Wilgro Orchards. The best part about this was probably the caramelized apple ice cream we bought to have it with! People thought we were mad but a pie without ice cream just isn't the same! The pie itself was perhaps a bit dry, the filling was basically cinnamon apple layered on directly without that gooey sauce that we want! Some rhubarb or blueberries would have made it 1000x better|
|Some more jammies for sale at the CiderFest. This particular stall had the most delicious chocolate coated toffee apples - they were sold out in no time at all! A clear winner for the little (and big) kids|
By the end of the afternoon, I felt a twinge of sadness to be leaving. The community atmosphere was so wonderful to see, hundreds of festival goers from near and far gathering to share a common experience on a cool Autumn's day. It was the perfect opportunity to have a chat with the farmers, support their efforts and enjoy some farmers. I did my best to sample a bit of everything and squeeze in a spot of shopping too!
|An afternoon street scene (left) and the Tumut Town Band (right) that put on a right show for us! Aren't their yellow jackets and feathered hats snazzy?|
|I walked away from the festival with some decent loot, including 2kg of Pink Lady Apples for $5 (the best)! My self made 'show bag': pear and apple ciders from Small Acres Cyder (from Orange, NSW), Wilgro Apple Cider Vinegar, jams from Yesteryear Preserves (Cowra, NSW) and Batlow's own Pink Lady Apple(s).|
What can I say other than it was a good day. I knew before I had even gone that I'd have a ton of fun at this event and it did not disappoint! Mark it in your diaries for next year :)
Thanks for reading!