I have a true love for cider, but it actually stemmed from my semester spent in Oviedo, Spain. The regions of Asturias and Galicia, Spain both had a heavy Celtic influence. In Asturias, you can still see remnants of the culture in bagpipes playing in streets and bars and the beloved drink, Sídra! If you are intersted in learning even more about the process of making sídra, there is a museum of sídra just a short train ride out of Oviedo.
The culture of sídra in Oviedo, Spain is an enticing in the way it has to be poured and drank. At a bar, groups of people order rounds of sídra. The escanciador (sídra pourer) pours each person at the table a small portion of the sídra. Sídra must be poured from a height in order to aerate (adds a carbonation like texture) the tasty beverage. The escanciador holds the bottle above his or her head pouring it down into a glass that is held below their waste. They are supposed to look straight forward while doing this, not looking down at the cup or up at the bottle. It is a bit of an art form. Once the glass is poured, you drink the sídra right away because it because less carbonated quickly. It is customary to leave just a little bit left in the glass to pour out onto the ground. This is said to rise germs out of the glass because the glasses are shared among the table. There may be only 2 glasses for 4 people.
Going out for Sídra became one of my favorite things about Spain, and I miss it dearly. The atmosphere in the bars, often with lively bagpipe music, makes for a great cultural time. Plus, it is only about 2 Euros per bottle of sídra at bars! Talk about a cheap date :)
Calle Gascona is a street in Oviedo famous for Síderias. My favorites are – Sídra Asturias (lively atmosphere in the evenings with indoor and outdoor seating – I actually went here for my 20th birthday!), La Pumarada (always a good fútbol game on here with indoor and outdoor seating), and Resturante Sídrerias Tierre Astur (well known for their sídra and food, but not necessarily vegetarian friendly).
Any time I get a chance, I love to enjoy some sídra. I also love to share my experience with sídra with others.