When I’m not in the mood for wine (yes, that happens!) I love to sip on a cider. I was recently introduced to Loxtonia‘s range of apple ciders, and just like that, I was transported to an old English pub and a cooperative micro-brewery.
When I lived in the UK, our local pub owned a micro-brewery. They brewed a couple of seasonal craft beers to be sold on tap in the pub. Every year during summer, the owner would call on the local residents to bring all their apples to the pub for cider-making. Each English garden is complete with at least two apple trees, giving you the feeling of quintessential country living.
You’d take in a shopping bag or two filled with backyard apples, even those fallen from the trees, those that look a bit gnarly, or the little ones that dropped before ripening. Each resident’s contribution would be carefully jotted down in a frumpled notebook, and in a few months, you could collect an equivalent number of bottles of home-made cider from the pub to enjoy at home.
I’ll never forget the intense, deeply complex and crisp taste of that home-made apple cider. Low in sugar and packed with whole-fruit goodness, I was instantly transported back to those summer days of drinking cider in a beer garden in the UK with just one sip of Loxtonia‘s apple ciders. Why, you might ask? Because of Loxtonia’s orchard-to-bottle philosophy. Any fresher and the apples would still be on the tree.
The true essence of the apple from ‘orchard to bottle’ is the promise of every Loxtonia Cider made with hand-picked apples from the Ceres Valley.
Made on the farm with home-grown, 100% freshly pressed and naturally fermented apples, the Loxtonia range of award winning ciders has a taste for every palate (press release).
Orchard to bottle
For the Whitfield family, who started making premium cider from their own orchards at Loxtonia farm in 2013, the concept of ‘orchard to bottle’ is paramount in capturing the quality and integrity of the apple throughout the cider making process.
It’s a journey that begins in the soil and ends with the cider. From nurturing every apple variety and hand-picking in the orchards, to pressing the fresh apples in small batches, natural fermentation and gentle filtration, nothing is left to chance. Sustainability also plays an integral role. By using the best Swiss-made pressing system run entirely on solar power, water usage is kept to a minimum and the apple pomace is composted back into the soil for the next harvest leaving zero waste.
The Loxtonia apple cider range
A blend of the finest apple varieties, the original Loxtonia Crispy Apple Cider is refreshingly fruity with a smooth, crisp finish. It’s a top contender at the annual International Cider Challenge.
Loxtonia Stone Fruit Apple Cider is a fruity, medium-sweet cider with bursts of bright, fresh peach, nectarine and apple. A gold medalist at the Cape Town Festival of Beer Awards, this popular cider also struck gold for its looks at the World Cider Awards for Best Label Design.
One of the more intriguing ciders in the range is the beer-styled Loxtonia Pale Amber Apple Cider. This well-rounded cider has nuances of caramel that meld into a smooth apple finish. This is a cider that even beer lovers will enjoy!
Loxtonia Easy Apple Non-Alcoholic is a blend of the finest hand-picked apples freshly pressed in the cidery on Loxtonia farm, without the alcohol! This non-alcoholic cider is deliciously low in sugar (just 58 calories).
All Loxtonia ciders (except the non-alcoholic variety) have a 5% alcohol content and are gluten-free, vegan-friendly and free of preservatives and artificial additives.
Easy Saturday feasting
As much as I enjoy experimenting with flavours, textures and combinations, in moments of true comfort I always find myself returning to timeless pairs. Apple and pork are one of those couples that make a dish sing with flavour and levels of depth.
With the intense pressed apple palate of the Loxtonia cider range, I opted for grilled pork sirloin kebabs, layered with red and green peppers, red onion and chunks of golden delicious apples. Continuously basted in an apple cider, apricot, honey and mustard marinade, these sticks of indulgence turn into a caramelised Saturday meal fit for easy feasting. I paired them with crispy ciabatta rolls, which you can either serve with a tossed salad or turn into little loaves of garlicky bread, perfectly grilled for the ultimate crunch.
At first taste
I particularly enjoyed the thirst-quenching, sunkissed taste of the Stone Fruit Apple Cider. Perfectly chilled for summer sipping, it’s also mellow and warm for winter cuddling. The distinct apple palate complements the initial hit of peach on the nose, and follows through beautifully with a bold, intense punch of fruit.
Tim immediately fell in love with the Pale Amber, with its toastier, almost beer-inspired notes. Very interesting at first sip, it grows on you the more time you spend with your glass. The colour is gorgeously reminiscent of clarified apple juice, and, in my opinion paired best with my pork kebabs.
You’d expect the Loxtonia Crispy Apple to have a more “commercial” flavour profile, but nothing could be further from the truth. Deliciously tangy and miles away from the sugary or syrupy ciders of apple cider drinks, it was a lovely change in pace, offering a great balance of flavour and natural refreshment.
I love that smack of dry, crisp, concentrated apple that homemade cider offers, and for a moment, I was back in Southampton on a warm summer’s afternoon in our local beer garden, cheers’ing tall glasses of still cider. A lovely trip down memory lane, this one will stay close to my heart.
Thank you so much, Loxtonia, for making your approach to cider making so apparent through your wholesomely natural “orchard to bottle” philosophy. The Loxtonia range of ciders is a pure celebration of the fruits of Mother Nature.
The fine print
Loxtonia ciders are available at leading outlets countrywide. The Loxtonia tasting room in Ceres is open daily. For bookings, a list of stockists, and online purchases at R99.60 for a 4-pack of 340ml premium glass bottles including free delivery within South Africa, visit https://www.loxtonia.co.za/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tel: 023-0040930.
*I received this product before the current lockdown restrictions came into law.
Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated / credited, are also my own.
The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.