Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dunkerton's Herefordshire Cider and Perry

Another delightful little artisan factory which we discovered on our recent trip to Herefordshire is the Dunkerton's Cider Mill, just outside Pembridge.

As you can see from their sign, Dunkerton's specialise in the production of the traditional alcoholic beverages Cider (made from apples) and Perry (made from pears). This is not a big operation - quite the opposite: if you want to see inside the tiny, quaint little retail shop you have to ring a bell and someone will appear from the depths of the delightfully informal factory to attend to you. The emphasis is quite clearly on quality rather than quantity. I understand that they only make about 50,000 gallons of cider each year, which is pretty small for a commercial enterprise. About 60% of the raw materials (i.e. fruit) come from their own orchards, adjacent to the factory, and all the rest are sourced from farms within an 8-mile radius.

We found the staff here very friendly and knowledgeable, with a real passion for their product. It took little salesmanship on their part to persuade us to buy a few samples to take away. Regrettably there is no on-site tasting arrangement (which I must say I found surprising).

Our samples...
We bought two different types of cider - the Black Fox, a medium dry sparkling cider, and the 2009 vintage cider (made to celebrate 30 years of cider-production) - and some of their Perry (described as "fragrant and delicate").

Did you notice the jar of pickled walnuts? Jane loves pickled walnuts (which you eat much like the more well-known pickled onions), so she couldn't resist buying these. They are doubtless destined to be consumed alongside some of our Monkland cheese...

These were also made at the Dunkerton's premises, using walnuts from the trees dotted around their car-park. So this could be the tree that produced the walnuts that went into that jar. How about that for minimising the Food-miles?

Green walnuts - past the stage at which they would be nice pickled!
If you can't get all your food from your own garden / farm, I think the next best thing is getting food whose provenance you know - and it should be local wherever possible, I feel. Unfortunately in our country it is often difficult to know exactly what happens to foodstuffs before you buy them. One of our supermarkets advertises "all the milk in each of our stores comes from within 50 miles of that store". 50 miles is actually quite a long way for us in Britain in any case, but what they don't tell you is that the milk produced within 50 miles of the store all gets shipped off to a centralised processing plant hundreds of miles away and then shipped back again. What nonsense!


  1. I'm not a lover of cider, but I've never tried perry or pickled walnuts, though I do love ordinary walnuts and I love pickled onions so perhaps something to look out for. It's great to find places such as these, I think people are becoming more aware of how far their food and drink has travelled, I know I am.

  2. I've never tasted pickled walnuts either. I wonder do they beat the trees with chains?

  3. When I grew up I was taught the old hippie slogan Think Globally, Shop Locally, and even though I don't live religiously by it - at all - I think it's quite a good mantra to have at the back of your head.

  4. Sue; Not sure about beating the walnut trees with chains, but I reckon the bloke who showed us around does a bit of Wassailing from time to time!

  5. I have never had any alcoholic cider, never tried perry or pickled walnuts. How interesting! Phil hates walnuts. I wonder if you can pickle pecans (which we have an over abundance of here in the South and they are local for the most part. I do have to trees in the yard but they aren't old enough to produce yet) or hazelnuts?

  6. Oh I just love their packaging, I am a big softie when it comes to a pretty label. I would love to try the pear cider, I drink a Swedish one here and it is DELICIOUS! And most certainly racking up the food miles!


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