(The following blog contains ‘west country’ slang for which the author apologises and translation has been dutifully offered….)
Although I am now living the Surrey life, I was born between the rolling hills and roaring sea in the deepest depths of the West Country. I am well and truly a Janner (a Plymouthian for those not familiar with the term). Although a proud Plymouthian, during my 24 or so years there I probably didn’t live West Country life to the fullest. Sure, I couldn’t walk past a pasty shop without the smell drawing me in, but when I visit home now I am well and truly a grockle (holiday-maker) and keen to try everything my beloved home-town is known for.
My latest adventure involved, amongst other things, a cream tea in Cornwall (thoroughly betraying my Devonian roots by having jam first, then cream – it’s the only way), and attending a pirate festival. This was more by chance than choice, but we were entertained by a pirate choir singing witpot (nonsense) sea shanty’s – were those lyrics really ‘Hey ho, chicken on a raft’?
It was a particularly warm weekend in Plymouth so as the day rested into dimpsy (twilight), we wandered down to the harbour in need of some refreshment and decided upon Stable Pizza, a chain of restaurants specialising in pizza, pies and cider. We were, on this occasion, solely there for a gurt big pint of thee best zider (hopefully translation isn’t needed here). To my shame, traditional cider is never a drink I have frequented, always leaning more towards Plymouth’s other famous beverage, Plymouth Gin (which is world class). So what better way to be initiated into proper cider than trying one of Stable Pizza’s tasting platters – a half a pint of five chosen local ciders. I am keen to point out this was shared, not solely for me. The five ciders we sampled were:
• Sandford Old Kirton – Quite dry and strong – I could only manage a little bit!
• Pubeck Dorset Draft – This was lovely and crisp, quite light to drink.
• Gert Lush – Definitely the most ‘west country’ cider I tasted – still, tangy, and quite a strong taste!
• Sandford shakey Bride – Quite sweet and apple-y…yum!
• West Country Perry – Technically not a Cider as it’s made with pears, but definitely my favourite.
Although I may have brought shame on my roots for thinking some of the ciders a bit too strong in taste, it was great to be able to try so many different types. We may not have been there for the food, but we couldn’t resist ordering some garlic bread to soak up all that cider. If the delicious garlicy goodness on a sourdough base was anything to go by, trying some more of their food is a must.
They may be mainly based in the West Country at the moment, but don’t be surprised if you see a Stable Pizza near you soon. With openings lined up for Southampton and Winchester, it’s time to bring the best cider (and pies and pizza) to the rest of the country. Plus with a menu that focuses on locally sourced food for each restaurant, you’d be maze as a brush (silly) not to try it!