I had an invite to an event being held by Thatchers Cider at the relatively new Pasture restaurant and I have to admit I decided to go because I wanted to try the food more than the cider. It’s not that I don’t like cider, but I have found it more and more difficult to find something I can drink comfortably. A few years ago I couldn’t be happier than with a pint of scrumpy in my mates garden or a bottle of Old Rascal at a picnic but, tastes changed and I found most ciders to be too sweet or too heartburn-inducing. However, I was willing to let Thatchers try and change my mind whilst I tucked into some tasty food.
With their recent marketing push and the sheer abundance of their product, I could be forgiven for thinking that Thatchers are one of the big boys. The assumption I brought in with me was that their cider had maybe seen a few more apples than Strongbow but not that much more. It soon became very apparent I couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Thatchers farm is in fact still in the hands of the original family with the 4th generation cider maker on the board of directors and very much still involved with the cider making process. The apples are all grown either on Myrtle Farm or in contracted orchards in and around the area and pressed and fermented at the farm itself in huge oak vats. The claim they try the ciders on Fridays is true and is an opportunity for the cider makers to ensure the ciders are ready before canning and bottling and a great chance to try something a bit different and experimental someone has cooked up.
One of the highlights of the evening was actually the welcome drink, a flute of their Thatchers Family Reserve, a Somerset sparkling apple wine. This for me blew cava and most prosecco out of the water when came to bubbles, taste and ability to drink more than one without feeling like I was being stabbed in the chest. I will be taking this light, fruity and fizzy treat to every gathering I am invited to going forward.
Pasture had come up with a special tasting menu to accompany the tasting notes of the ciders and included a fresh and zingy scallop in tigers milk with chilli, a gorgeous steak tartare (my current obsession, I wish I could make this at home but fear killing myself) and some incredibly tasty beef short rib croquettes. I tried enough that I will make more of an effort to go back and try the full menu.
It was a lovely opportunity to try some old favourites and some new with Thatchers and I have genuinely come away with a taste for something I hadn’t tried or expected before as well as a desire to head back to Pasture to try some of that steak I keep hearing about. I am also happy to have some old preconceptions changed about large batch cider production and how Thatchers works and look forward to hearing about what they’re bringing out next. I will certainly be ordering a case of the reserve to my house when I get around to ordering some online.