boite à outils

Making Farmhouse Cider - the traditional way

Brittany is famous for its food and drink, especially crepes and cider!
So just how is this famous cider made? There are countless methods, whether homespun or industrial, but the one that we discovered is hardly used any more except for families making their own special brew.

Homespun Cider-making

Yvette and Paul, owners of a Bed & Breakfast at Plouezoc’h, have held onto their family know-how, handed down through generations - and they have been kind enough to share their knowledge with us, as well as sharing thei wonderful setting.

First of all, you need to choose the right apples.
Three main varieties of apple are used to make cider: sweet and bittersweet, bitter and sour. Try eating some of these apples and you’ll soon find they’re inedible!
A careful selection of these varieties, however, can give you a balanced and very pleasant cider that’s far easier to consume!

cidre fermier Morlaix Bretagne choisir les pommes

After the hard work of the harvest - which usually happens from mid-September to early November, when you have to gather any that have fallen to the ground - the first step of production is to crush the apples so that the juice can easily be extracted at the next stage: pressing.

cidre fermier Morlaix Bretagne le broyeur

Machines from another era

These machines from times gone by are very impressive and require an awful lot of elbow grease to get the working!
The biggest and most technical part is around the press.
To start with, you have the wooden frame that holds the ’first straw bed’. Even for this, you have a choice of various types of straw. Oat straw, for example, has long strands that allow cider-makers a better hold on the various layers of apples, but oat straw is not always easy to get hold of. Wheat straw is in more plentiful supply and will do the job very well.
On this bed of straw, you spread a first layer of crushed apples; you lift up the wooden frame, add another layer of straw, then apples and so on.

cidre fermier Morlaix Bretagne choisir le pressurage

Once it is high enough, you bring down the press and the juice begins to flow out of the apples. Once extracted, yiou can measure the sugars in the juice as this will determine the alcohol levels, which usually comes in at between 5% and 6%.
cidre fermier Morlaix Bretagne choisir le jus coule

Curiously, at this stage, the apple juice is delicious and very sweet - no matter how young or old you are, you’re sure to appreciate the flavour!

cidre fermier Morlaix Bretagne dégustation

This is a juice that starts to ferment very quickly. It has to be placed into a vat for a few days: this is the clarification stage. Once the impurities have risen to the surface and been separated, the pure cider can be drawn off, and it is put into a barrel for a few months. Several clarification stages are still required before it can be bottled, in clear weather. Ah yes, even the weather can affect the quality of your cider! A second fermentation stage takes place, a little more patience is necessary, but then it’s finally ready to drink. Bottoms up!

Not one cider - but ciders, plural

There are different types of cider: dry, medium or sweet, depending on the level of sugars!

There are cider producers all around the area that welcome visitors throughout the year, each with its own technic and its own flavour. Their job is also their passion, and most cider producers are all too keen to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with you, so do go and visit them, for example: Domaine de Kerveguen in Guimaëc and the Cidrerie de Cozmezou in Plouégat Guerrand.

Yvette and Paul Le Moal welcome visitors to their renovated old farmhouse with views over Morlaix Bay, which includes two comfortable Bed & Breakfast rooms in Plouezoc’h, for an escape that’s full of flavour!