The front page of the Business section of the Montreal Gazette had a delightful account of the pleasure to be had in visiting the apple orchards of Les Vergers Lafrance in St. Joseph du Lac just north-west of Montreal across the Lake of Two Mountains. The facilities are designed to bring pleasure to the whole family. Apples are one of the fine products for which Quebec is justly proud. However over the last ten years the production in Quebec has dropped about 20% and the drop in Canada as a whole was slightly more.
The good news is that apples are the basis for some exciting new products, one of them being ice cider. This is perhaps not as well known in Quebec as it should be, since there is a thriving global market for ice cider with strong growth potential. It is perhaps fitting that this product was pioneered by the Cidrerie La Face Cach?e de la Pomme. In English this means the hidden side of the apple! About 25% of their production goes to export markets.
Another strong producer is Pinnacle Estates located in Frelighsburg, Quebec in the Eastern Townships. Almost half their production goes to export markets, in part due to a strategic alliance with international cognac manufacturer, Camus.
In order to ensure the highest standards for ice cider in Quebec, the Association des cidriculteurs artisans du Qu?bec in June approved a definition of ice cider and established norms to forbid the use of additives such as sugar and colorants. This also requires the use of natural cold before the fermentation process. Such norms will be applied by the SAQ as policy for its suppliers of ice cider and this should ensure that the highest standards are maintained for this fine product. Ice cider is unique to Quebec because we have the two elements needed for its production – fine apples and extreme winter temperatures to provide the natural chill to the apples. Ontario wine producers earned $ 6.7 million selling iced wine in export markets in 2004. With a bottle of some brands of ice cider fetching $35 to $45 in Quebec, the ice cider export market should quickly get to comparable levels.
Tags: ice cider