Every once in a while you get to meet some interesting people with good stories to tell and a few weeks ago I got to meet one such person; Chris Hunt from Norman Hunts and Sons. Chris comes from a family of apple growers, who started growing back in the 30's.
It was Chris's grandfather who set up the business in Kent and his father and mother took it on, eventually purchasing the land the present farm is based at in Sedlescombe back in 1972.
There they grow a wide variety of cider apples on Ashdown Sand soils in the hills of this part of East Sussex. Since 1997 there has been no chemical input in the orchards, so lichens flourish on the trees.
Harvesting begins once the apples are fully ripe and fall naturally. This allows for maximum ripeness and sugar levels which in turn create the subtle flavour components found in these ciders.
After pressing the juice goes into stainless steel for a temperature controlled fermentation process. A careful selection and blending process then creates what we feel are a range of 3 superb sparkling ciders.
Vintage Sussex Cider 7.4%
Complex flavours and aromas really hit the mark to produce a superb drink. Chris also thinks this would be good as a spritzer base.
This is Hunt's original cider, which has a rich full bodied taste whilst at the same time being mellow in character.
This cider has a vibrant amber colour and exhibits those complex flavours that seem to be part of all the Hunts ciders. Different in character to the Vintage this has a real warming feel to it and finishes dry.
Chris thinks this would go well in batter for fish, so why not try it instead of beer for some tempura prawns?
Hairy Pig 4.5%
Named after the family pet pig, which also appears on the label, this is the lightest cider in the range but still shows those great flavours found elsewhere, this time with a refreshing tangy, lemon-apple feel. Clean, smooth with a dry edge, this is a more subtle drink which makes a perfect chilled summer quaff.
Available in 500 ml bottles with crown caps, the range starts at just £2.50 a bottle and is in stock at both shops.