Two-day Cider Making course
Raise a glass to cider and traditional methods, with a two-day course of all things apple and cider at the River Cottage Cookery School.
Led by the award-winning team at Burrow Hill, our Cider Making course will let you in on the secrets of truly great home-made cider. You’ll learn all about the importance of the varieties of apples used and get hands-on with practical cider making. With careful preparation and some simple equipment, you can make cider to be proud of at home.
Set against the beautiful scenery of River Cottage HQ, your days will include lunch and the chance to explore the famous kitchen garden at River Cottage HQ.
The course starts at Burrow Hill Cider, in neighbouring Somerset, with an insight into traditional cider making and a tour of their 200-year-old orchard.
09.30 - 17.00
Day One - Arrival at Burrow Hill Cider orchard at 9.30am
Day one of your cider making course will be held at Burrow Hill Cider. Please note, there is the option of going direct to Burrow Hill or to travel by coach from River Cottage.
You’ll meet your hosts Matilda and Paull, from Burrow Hill Cider, and start each day with tea or coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.
The course will get underway with an introduction to traditional cider making and its history.
Apples and orchards
You’ll learn about the importance of the apples, the different types, and how you choose them to produce a good cider.
Orchard tour and apple collection
You'll have a tour of the 200-year-old cider orchards and see over 50 different varieties of apples growing. You will be told how to differentiate between the main types of apples (dessert fruit, bittersweet, sharp and sweet) by taste. You will also collect a variety of apples for pressing directly from the farm.
Cider facilities tour and tasting session
You'll also have a tour of the Burrow Hill cider making facilities and see the press in action. Tim Stoddart, the cider maker, will take you through a tasting of blending cider to teach you what to expect from traditional pure juice cider.
The future of cider making
Julian Temperley, owner of Burrow Hill Cider, will talk about his view of the cider making industry's future. He will also cover distilling and ice cider and take you through a tasting of Somerset Cider Brandy, apple liqueurs, including Kingston Black Apple Aperitif and Pomona, as well as Ice Cider.
Standard orchard visit
Next, you'll visit the largest single standard orchard in the UK, in nearby Over Stratton. It is one of the few remaining blocks of land planted with apples and when you stand in the centre of this orchard you cannot see its end. After this visit, you can make your way home from here afterwards or travel by coach back to River Cottage.
Day Two - Arrive at River Cottage
You’ll be met at the top of the hill at 9.30am and transported to River Cottage HQ by tractor and trailer (approx. a 5 minute journey).
Make yourself at home
You will be greeted by our friendly front of house team with tea, coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.
Basics of cider making
The art of cider making will be covered next, looking at choice of equipment and the process of cider making.
Cider making practical session
Now you’ll get your hands on some practical cider making at River Cottage. You will mill and press the apples and everyone will be given a 5-litre glass jar to fill. You'll take your jars of apple juice home with you to continue the cider making process at home.
Method traditional sparkling cider
To finish up, Paull will take you through the process of making sparkling cider.
Lunch each day
Food is always the focus at River Cottage, and each day you’ll tuck into lunch of delicious local, seasonal fare with tasters along the way too.
If you still have any questions, this will be your chance to ask them and make sure you have all the practical advice you need to set you on your cider making journey.
There will be time to chat to your fellow scholars and the River Cottage team, before being whisked back up the hill by our tractor and trailer with your jar of liquid gold tucked under your arm.
This course is not available to anyone below the age of 18. We are required by law to ask for the ID of any guest who appears to be under 25 years of age.
Some drinks are included, and we also have a licensed bar serving a selection of local beers, ciders, wines and soft drinks.
Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.
On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.
This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.
We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.
We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 18 years of age and upwards. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.
With many of our courses there are often treats and leftovers to take away with you. In our quest to be more sustainable we are encouraging guests to bring their own containers and bags to transport their produce home. Details of what is required for each course will be included in booking emails.
- Sustainable Restaurant Association
- Food and Travel Magazine 2017
- Great British Food Awards 2017
- Great British Food Awards 2018