Icons of England
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Is this an icon?



Cider drinkers have been dogged in the past by an unsophisticated, occasionally bumpkinish reputation, which can’t have been helped by that unexpected 1970s hit by the Wurzels, I Am A Cider Drinker. But things are changing for the apple-based beverage. Cider consumption in the UK was up by 20% in 2005, with our cider market believed to be the largest in the world. Production is concentrated in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, the last of which is where Bulmers, the biggest cider producer in the world, is based.

Cider-making in England dates back to the Norman Conquests. The drink was made by farms and monasteries in apple-producing counties as a matter of course. Today, farm production is harder to find, but you can still come across traditionally produced cider and organic tipples, as well as the big names.

Photo: Maria Gibbs


Your comments

The huge variety of English cider apples should be protected as a national teasure not just held up as an icon. The flavours of cider (and perry) are incomparable, a natural drink of great antiquity enjoyed throughout the country.

Andrew Symon

Cider is THE juice of the Gods -now I'm talking about the proper stuff - not the commercial nastiness that you see teenagers n tramps drinking. After a pint I feel the warmth slowly settle in and stress start to subside - wonderful stuff! Also remindes of my favourite limerick: There was an ol' lady from Ryde, who ate some green apples 'n' died, the apples fermented inside the lamented, 'n' made cider inside 'er insides! Brilliant!
paul fowler

Since I discovered Farmhouse Cyder in the late eighties I have come to realise that no other alcoholic drink in the UK can hold a candle to it. I am not talking about those awful white ciders, atrocious. And not keen on sweet Cider either, eg Woodpecker. The best stuff in my opinion is that produced by small concerns, which u can find out about by checking CAMRAS' Good Cider Guide. One of my favourites is that produced at Upton, Oxon: incredible stuff, although any more than 2 pints & you are veering out of control. For the more commercial ones, I would say that Thatchers, Westons, etc are well worth the title of Icon.
Andrew D Scott

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry