Pouring Asturian cider is an art form that's a joy to behold. Visit the sidrerias to see people hold the bottle as high as they can with one hand and attempt to catch the cider in a glass held as low as possible while standing. It's a fantastic tradition and here's more about it and cider in Asturias.
A slightly sweet, slightly sour scent of apples lingers in the squares of Oviedo in northern Spain. Inside the sidrerias, it doesn't so much linger as call up every one of its friends and invite them to a party.
Sticky cider on the floor, scented cider in wooden barrels and cider, stunt cider, falling from tipped green bottles to fall straight into an outstretched glass.
Or at least, that's what's supposed to happen.
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Asturian cider needs aeration and locals have found that the best, and the most fun way to do that is to pour it from a great height.
They've also discovered that it's even more fun to watch hapless foreigners have a go.
In almost every sidreria (the cider houses found across Asturias,) you'll be egged on to have your turn.
The cider, cloudy and sharp rather than sweet, needs lots and lots of air to taste "fresh" and that freshness doesn't last for long.
Drink servings come in small portions and you have to drink fast. Take too long over your Spanish cider and it will go flat: the pouring will have been in vain.
To actually pour Spanish cider involves a two handed technique. Start with one hand holding a glass, the other a bottle.
Simultaneously lift the bottle up, the glass down, in a manner reminiscent of a pseudo-Scottish jig at a late night wedding party or the standard ballerina pretence, just without sticking your leg behind you as well (thank heavens for some small mercies.)
Easy to say, much harder to do, as the sticky floors suggest.
All across Spain's northern green belt where the apples love to grow. The majority of Spanish cider is produced in Asturias but you can also track some down in the Basque country and neighbouring Galicia.
Spanish tortilla, the egg and potato-based dish, often appears, as do some bitter olives and jamon.
Disclosure: I'm currently travelling through Asturias as a guest of Asturias.es. As always, as ever, I keep the right to write what I like.
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