Tag Archives: australian cider

Thirsty Thursday: Aussie Cider

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The one thing we didn’t expect to find, nor even think to look for while we were in Australia was hard cider. I just love a good, refreshing hard cider on a beautiful spring or summer day. So we were pleasantly surprised when we found some!

Our first cider encounter was at The Norfolk in Sydney {New South Wales}. They had one on tap from New Zealand. True, it’s not an Aussie Cider, but I had never had one from NZ either. It was such a clear color! Seriously, this glass is full!

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It went nicely with the Peri-Peri Chicken I had for lunch! Peri-Peri {also piri-piri} Chicken is a Portuguese-style dish that I can’t say that I’ve seen in the U.S. But I hadn’t known about it[ so I hadn’t been looking for it either. I think I was first introduced by Tiffany at Cute Dogs and Hugs. Then I noticed it all over Australia. {I also noticed a lot of chicken burgers and chicken schnitzel. HA!} Peri-peri sauce has such a nice heat!

Peri Peri Chicken

Peri Peri Chicken

The cider complemented it nicely, too. I may have to try to make Peri-Peri chicken or sauce at home. Biz, are you up for the challenge?!

But Rob also noticed on their list that they carried an Aussie cider by the bottle. We gave it a try.

Another excellent specimen! This one is from the Snowy Mountains {New South Wales}.

I was so oblivious to Australian geography before we visited the country. So, I’d like to offer you a quick lesson right now. It’ll give you an idea of where each of these ciders comes from.

Remember that Australia is roughly the size of the United States.

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But there are only a total of eight states and territories!

{ACT = Australian Capital Territory, where you will find Canberra, the capital city}

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Now consider that this country is in the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are flopped from those of us in the North. {It was spring when we arrived in September! Everyone is on summer vacation over Christmas!} And, the further you go north {towards the equator}, the warmer it gets. The further south you go, the temps are cooler, creating better conditions for apple growing.

Our next cider experience was with Chloe at Young & Jackson’s in Melbourne {Victoria}.IMG_9383

We took a lovely drive with Mum & Dad from our home base in Melbourne out to the Mornington Peninsula {Victoria}. It was a beautiful day to lunch outside. I found a nice little local cider on the menu:

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It comes from Wallington {Victoria}, which is just across the water from the town where we lunched. The whole arrangement made me happy – a beautiful day, lunch outside, one of the best salads I’ve ever had, and wonderful company, all while sipping a bottle of crisp local cider.

Can you tell that we were just a tad bit happy?!

Can you tell that we were just a tad bit happy?!

One thing we learned from Mum and Dad was something else that was unbeknownst to me: Did you know where the Granny Smith apple originated?

Tasmania!

Me neither! You can read the story about Granny Smith (an actual person!) here. After learning all of this, when we saw a bottle of the cider pictured below at an establishment in St. Kilda, there was no way we could order anything else.

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To be honest, I’m not even sure if this Cider House belongs to the same Smith family, nor if it is made from Granny Smith apples. But it sold us. It didn’t matter. Sipping on another Tasmanian cider that we knew we couldn’t have had at home was a treat anyway.

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It was a delicious farmhouse-style cider. We love that Willie Smith & Sons is big on not adding anything artificial and that the apples are organically grown, too.

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Speaking of Farmhouse-style ciders…

Rob loves Scrumpy Ciders! He used to think that the term scrumpy meant that the cider was higher in alcohol. That’s probably because many are. But now we know that the term is used more to describe locally produced ciders not made in mass quantities.  My absolute favorite Scrumpy is J.K.’s Scrumpy Farmhouse Organic Hard Cider out of Michigan. It tastes just like the unfiltered apple cider you pick up directly at an orchard!

Rob and I are highly interested in visiting Tasmania when we next visit Australia someday. It sounds like a beautiful countryside full of lots interesting history!

Rob did enjoy a Scrumpy Cider at Milk the Cow, a wine and cheese bar in the St. Kilda area of Melbourne.

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This one did pack a punch at 8% ABV anyway!

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Then there’s this:

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What a great name! I love the crocheted label look. But there is the disclaimer that the cider inside wasn’t necessarily made with granny smiths.

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The next cider, I believe, was one Rob enjoyed the night the girls shared a little bubbly with dinner.  It’s another Tassie {pronounced Tazzie!} cider:

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The last cider I quaffed on our Australian trip was on a hot day while we were visiting Uluru. I’m sure we paid an arm and a leg for it at the resort restaurant. And just like in Ireland (and now more common in the U.S., too) servers always try to offer me a glass full of ice to water my cider down. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s just my personal preference: If the cider is already chilled, I don’t want your stinking ice!

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I don’t mind “cloudy” or unfiltered ciders. In fact, that’s what I love in a good Farmhouse-style cider. But the Seeds cider was probably my least favorite cider of the trip. I still didn’t let it go to waste!

Then I saw that it is a product of Tooheys:

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Tooheys is a mass-producer of beers and ciders in Australia. That might explain why it was my least favorite.

But overall, the ciders in Australia were delicious. Yes, it’s always a good idea to drink wine in wine countries; but if apples are a product of the region, don’t look those over either!

What’s your favorite style of cider? Dry? Sweet? Filtered? Unfiltered? Have you had a scrumpy?

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Other posts about our trip to Australia:

Cheers!~
Carrie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirsty Thursday in Melbourne

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It wasn’t a Thirsty Thursday, or even a Thursday at all, when we spent a night out with our Aussie friends, Barb & Tony, in Melbourne, Australia. But today is Thursday and it might even be a Thirsty one. So I’d love to share it with you.

Tony, knowing that I love wine, researched a few places before we all met up in Melbourne. He said he found a wine and cheese bar called Milk the Cow right in the St. Kilda area where we were staying. How sweet is that?! It was a beautiful early spring evening in September  and perfect for a ten-minute walk.

The sun was still out when we arrived. And an available table gave us the opportunity to take a nice little seat outdoors. I started with a glass of bubbly:

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Apparently, my bubbly wanted to be the star of the show and blocked Tony’s face out of the photo!

Rob opted for a little Scrumpy – a favorite style of cider.

{Don’t worry, that Aussie Cider post is still to come!}

 And then the cheese… Oh the cheese!!!!!

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We opted for a spread to share, with as many local, Australian cheeses as possible. And do you think I can remember now what they all were? It doesn’t matter, though. I loved them all! {The fact that I grew up in Wisconsin and am also a Francophile probably has something to do with that.}

After we milked the cow, we decided to hop around a little and stop for a bite to eat elsewhere if we found ourselves still hungry. We found an Irish Pub to continue the tradition that my friend Jen and I started back in 2000. You can never go wrong in an Irish Pub no matter where you are in the world! But we had to prove to Jen that we were there. Do you see the Irish flags and Magners Cider banners hanging from the ceiling?

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And if you think we are pulling one over on you, the pub was called The Wee Chief on Fitzroy Street. We didn’t stay for long. It was so loud in there and we had only so much precious time together. So we wandered back toward our hotel, stopping to look in all the bakeshop windows along the way. St. Kilda is known for them!

At the suggestion of Rob, we finally stopped back at Abbey Road, which is where Rob and I had lunch on our first day in Melbourne. As much as I loved my lunch there, I was kind of reluctant because I wanted to try something new. But I didn’t want to be a drag and didn’t have any better ideas, so in we went.

And I’m so glad we did!

It was the perfect place to grab a table, have a drink and eat a little late night nosh. 

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Rob found another cider! Or was that mine?

What was perfect about that night at Abbey Road is that there was entertainment. It was either 50s or sockhop night or something. All of the staff was dressed up for the occasion. The ladies wore poodle skirts; while the men rolled up the short sleeves of their white t-shirts to tuck a pack of smokes inside. And the music! It was timeless. The musicians captivated the crowd playing past 50s hits such as Rock Around the Clock. They delighted us with songs that we all knew and loved and that made us smile, sing along and dance a little in our seats.

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And enjoy we did. We might have even stopped for some late night dessert from one of the bakeshops on the way home. 😉

Although we stopped at some great places in St. Kilda that night; it’s definitely true that it’s not where you are that truly matters, but the company you keep.

Other posts on our trip to Australia:

Cheers~
Carrie

 

 

Meet Our Aussie Mum & Dad

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In 2002, three single girls went to New Orleans to ring in the New Year. The entire week was incredible, but that is for another post on Travels Past.

On New Year’s Eve, they ventured down to Bourbon Street. After walking a few blocks down, they found it nearly impossible to stick together through the crowds of people. Eventually, they had to grab each other’s jackets to keep together, surely looking like a catepillar from the balconies above. After arriving at Pat O’Brien’s, they fought their way toward the entrance to order themselves some original Hurricanes.

If it were not for the Hurricanes causing their bladders to weaken, they would not have met some wonderful friends that night! They popped into a restaurant to use the restroom, but also went to the bar to order drink…

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Yes, that is where we met our Aussie friends, to whom we referred as Mum & Dad the entire night, if only because they were about our parents’ ages and had children about as old as us.

We spent the evening with them enjoying beverages, watching the ball drop from Jackson Square and continuing our post-New Year’s celebration at an Irish Pub. This photo still remains on my desk in my home office. Such fond memories!

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Boy do we look so young there!

We hadn’t seen them since, well, January 1, 2003. And Barb and Tony have even been back to the U.S.!

Fast forward to 2014.

As Rob and I planned our trip to Australia only a few months in advance, we had to assume this was going to be a once-in-a lifetime adventure. We had not yet traveled so far. With this in mind, we decided on Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef. We wanted a little taste of a few different areas. There was much, much more on our wish list, but we didn’t want to overdo it or rush ourselves. And we only had two weeks. Consider the fact that Australia is about the size of U.S. Think about our fifty states and compare that with Australia’s eight states/territories. Each one is vast! We would get a little taste of four of them – New South Wales (Sydney), Victoria (Melbourne), Northern Territory (Uluru – aka Ayers Rock) and Queensland (Cairns/Great Barrier Reef).

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Over the years we kept in touch with Mum & Dad (aka Barb & Tony IRL). When they heard that we were going to be in Australia, they made arrangements to meet us in Melbourne for a weekend! That’s a little over a three hour flight from where they lived. How sweet is that?!

On our first day with them, we sat down for coffee and discussed what we wanted to do. Tony reminded us that this was our holiday and that if wanted to do our own thing, we needed to let them know. They, in no way be offended. (Have I mentioned that they are the sweetest people ever?)

The suggestion was to spend the day driving out to the Mornington Peninsula before we finished our day on Phillips Island for the Penguin Parade. Just the day before, Rob and I had enjoyed a wine from the Mornington Peninsula.

Tony had already researched local breweries (all of which were closed that day 😦 ), wineries and little places of interest along the way. The only “Touring Rule” was that if anyone, for any reason, saw something and was interested in stopping, we all had to do it – even if no one else is interested. I love that rule. We are going to steal that one!

I felt absolutely spoiled.

We rented a car and Tony was a our Chauffeur…

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Cellar Door = Tasting Room!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. (We were lucky to have beautiful weather most of our trip. I’d highly recommend visiting in Spring, specifically September!) And isn’t the sea just lovely?

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I feel so calm whenever I’m near the water.

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We stopped for coffee and tea and then later for lunch in Sorrento. This is where Rob had this wonderful local Imperial Stout:

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It was at The Continental that I could say I probably had my best meal of the trip! This is a region known for using local, seasonal ingredients and it definitely shows. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of my beautiful salad which is also not listed on the current menu. But if my memory serves me correctly, there was arugula, fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella di bufala, dollops of pesto, maybe some olives and some nuts or seeds of some sort? Maybe some pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potatoes? Something orange. All as I know is that I found myself saying, “Mmm….” in my head more times than I could out loud in public!

So, like in Ireland, I missed the photo opp of my most incredible meal, but we did get some photos of us!

Barb & Tony (Mum & Dad)

Barb & Tony (Mum & Dad)

They are always photogenic and don’t look like they aged a day since I saw them last! It was like catching up with old friends, even for Rob who’d never met them before.

Can you tell that we were just a tad bit happy?!

Can you tell that we were just a tad bit happy?!

For the record, I’m sipping a local cider in that photo. They’ll be more on Aussie ciders in an upcoming post…

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We did have time to stop at a Cellar Door… to do a little wine tasting. They seem to specialize in Pinot Noir in this region. I’m assuming that the grape varietal must thrive in the climate here.

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I loved seeing a vines planted among so many gum (eucalyptus) trees. And of course, there was the token vineyard dog… {Did I ever mention, Rob and I have a coffee table book on Sonoma Vineyard Dogs?!}

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And this was only part of our first day with them. You have yet to learn about the Penguin Parade later that evening…

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When we returned to the states and Rob and I had dinner with the girls, they asked him:

“So what did you think of Mum & Dad?”

” Well…” Rob said.

” I was pretty much…

…completely enamored.”

Awww…

Thank you so much Barb and Tony for giving us an experience of a lifetime!

Other posts on our trip to Australia:

The One Thing I Didn’t Need to Bring to Australia
The Wattle and Bush Tucker
Scenes from Sydney
A Morning at Bond-Eye

The Blue Mountains
Sydney Eats
Sydney Dinners: His & Hers Picks
An Afternoon in Melbourne

Cheers~
Carrie