When it comes to producing a refreshing, quality beverage, apples are the new grapes. Caledon has the Spirit Tree Cidery
, which mimics the attractive architecture (a beige stucco covering its straw bale walls) and gourmand experience of a winery but uses the humble apple to create a memorable experience. This wonderful local attraction proves an apple a day – in the form of cider – is not only healthy but a delicious way to cool down in the summer or warm up in the winter.
Inside the Cidery, the centerpiece of the main room is a brick oven used to bake pizzas and bread. I took home the apple bread and when I warmed it up the smell of the apple puree filled my kitchen – it was wonderful.
The tasting room is the place to try a free cider sample before buying a few bottles or jugs or take home, or you can savour a cup of steamed or iced cider at the café. There are picnic tables outside next to a small pond if you want to sip your cider next to the rows of apple trees. While grocery stores only carry one kind of cider, Spirit Tree has many:
The shop has a good selection of Ontario food products, including some that I had never seen before despite being a regular visitor to many local food specialty shops. These included egg nog, lavender jelly, salami, and the Spirit Tree’s own apple blossom honey. Also, there is a freezer with a few frozen dinner options, including curried vegetable and apple soup and the aptly-named decadent mac and cheese with squash, spinach, and four kinds of cheese including brie.
Fresh Pressed Sweet Apple Cider
This traditional cider was the winner of the 2011 Ontario Sweet Cider Competition. Who knew there was such a thing and how do I get invited to be a judge?
Sparkling Sweet Apple Cider
The sweet cider is carbonated in a 750 ml bottle and is perfect for celebrations.
Pub Style Cider
A lightly carbonated cider, great served on its own or over ice. 6% alc.
Estate Reserve Cider
Aged in oak barrels, this is a still cider. Most people drink this as a wine alternative, similar to a Chardonnay. 8% alc.
Crabapple Blush Cider
Made from 100% crabapples, fermented on their skins, this is a lively cider with beautiful colour.
A traditional cider made from 100% Harrowgold pears. Lightly carbonated, a great alternative to our pub style cider. 6% alc.
Similar to ice wine but made with the fermented juice of frozen apples. Pairs wonderfully with cheeses and is an excellent after dinner drink. 12.5% alc.
Cidery tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays 11am-2pm. The cost for the 45-minute tour is $5 and includes a cider tasting.
There is so much to do in the Caledon area, particularly in the fall colour season, but Spirit Tree Cidery should definitely be one of your stops. It will soon be an “classic” Ontario experience.