Ice ciders left to right: Domaine Pinnacle; Cremant St Nicolas; Ciderie St. Nicolas Pomme; Neige by La Face Cachee de la Pomme
Under an hour outside Montreal south of the St Lawrence River lies the fertile soil of the Monteregie cider route. Visit the area yourself and sample this world-class elixir.
The Monteregie cider route
Just as apples are available across Canada, so are ciders. But the heralded ciders of Quebec are the stars of the Canadian cider scene. Just 30 minutes south of Montreal lies the Monteregie cider route, a land rich with history, apple orchards and sugar shacks. It’s a great driving destination for a family outing, or a day of cider sampling.
The Monteregie cider route - established in 1998 - links a number of the many cider houses in the region. Visit the Monteregie cider route during the spring, summer or fall when the cider houses are open and the weather is mild.
How to get there:
Head south out of Montreal on Highway 15 towards Hemmisford and the Cidrerie du Minot, the first artisanal cider producer in Quebec. Sample their excellent varieties of sparkling ciders. Then make a stop at La Face Cachée de la Pomme and pick up a bottle of delicious Neige ice cider ( image at far right), a specialty of the region.
Meander east to the town of Freslighsburg and then head back north to Rougemount on the way back to Montreal, sampling some (or all!) of the 20+ cider houses along the way.
If you need a break from all the sampling, take a tour of the cider houses. Many offer the opportunity to learn more about local history, the cider-making process and will also let you pick apples when they're in season.
Hungry? Pick up cheese and pate at one of the many artisanal producers in the area for lunch on the road, or check out a sugar shack for a sweet reprieve while you’re in the area.
Canadian Living ice cider favourites:
At an informal tasting in the Canadian Living Test Kitchen, we discovered that tasting many different kinds of ice cider is key - picking up just any bottle of cider does not mean you are guaranteed a great quaff! What worked best for our palates were well balanced ciders with a nice hit of acidity.
Neige by La Face Cachee de la Pomme (image at far right) came out on top of the ice ciders we tried. We also really liked Domaine Pinnacle iced cider (image at far left). We also sampled Ciderie St Nicolas’ Cremant St Nicolas, a 2.8% light sparkling cider (image second from left). It was clean, light and refreshing - a great out-of-the-ordinary drink to serve with brunch.
These are only a few of the 60+ varieties of ice cider produced in the Monteregie region. Explore for yourself and find your own favourite, then enjoy your ice ciders at home.
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