How many apples are needed for cider production?
Cider is a flagship product in the Quebec agri-food industry that is constantly being refined and diversified by the passionate and experienced cider-growers of our province.
In 2016, 80 cider-houses are operating in Quebec. Each offers high-quality products made with local apples. Geographically, cider producers are mostly located in the Montérégie region, in the Quebec City region, in the Eastern Townships and in the Laurentides.
Types of cider
Quebec ciders are divided into five distinct categories:
1. Flat cider
Without effervescence, it has a fragrance of green apple and white flowers. Its supple and fresh taste is pleasant on the palate. It can be dry or sweet, depending on the sugar level. Made from apples harvested at full maturity, its alcohol content can vary between 1.5 and 15%. It replaces white wine very well for meal pairing.
It can be sparkling with fine bubbles or carbonated and smells of ripe apples, vanilla or bread crumb, depending on the method of foaming. Its alcohol content generally ranges from 2% to 12%. It can be dry, semi-dry or sweet depending on the sugar content.
3. Fire cider
Fire cider is obtained by evaporation: the heat is used to concentrate the sugars, as it is done for maple water. A syrupy 9 to 15% alcoholic product of a coppery color, it has a vibrant acidity and exudes smells and tastes of cooked apples, caramel and candied fruit.
4. Ice cider
Ice cider, which is made either by cryoconcentration or by cryoextraction, is a true Québec invention. Indeed, only the winter of Quebec allows the apple to freeze naturally and is able to create ice cider! It is a liqueur, such as fire cider, with a residual sugar of 130 g / l and which can have an alcohol content of 7 to 13%. It gives off smells of fresh or cooked apples, caramel, candied fruits, spices and honey. To taste, there is a balance between acidity and sweetness and sometimes a slight bitterness in the final. It is a favorite among Québécois, and it is even now exported to more than 50 countries!
5. Rosé cider
It can be found in effervescent, ice or flat form. At tasting, rosé cider reveals final notes of rose and red fruits (cranberries, strawberries, etc.) The coloration can be obtained with varieties of red-fleshed apples or by maceration of the peel in the must.
Interesting fact: it takes an average of 1.7 kg of apples to produce a liter of flat cider and 9.5 kg of apples to produce a liter of ice cider. Hence the importance of having a well-stocked orchard!
The taste, aromas and color of the cider are influenced by the varieties of apples used in processing. The most cultivated by producers are McIntosh, Spartan, Empire and Cortland. Moreover, the majority of ciders are made with several varieties of apples.
In May 2017, the Association des Producteurs de cidre du Québec launched Cider Week to highlight the expertise of cider producers and showcase this versatile beverage through tastings, orchard visits, conferences, promotions in bars and more!
References : Les Producteurs de cidre du Québec