Nothing quite like a heat wave on a British bank holiday to get barbecue season well and truly underway and to put you in the mood for a holiday!
Last summer we took a break from the norm and took a trip down memory lane, taking our summer break here in the U.K. Not quite the Amalfi Coast or the Hamptons of resent years and not quite the shopping extravaganza I’ve come to love in the build up to a big trip away. No, I certainly wont be needing several new bikinis and sundresses, not to mention the shoes! It took a little encouragement believe me, no matter how sentimental it was I’m a sun and sea girl at heart and I’m talking Mediterranean, not English Channel. But the packing commenced and this time it was Hunters at the ready (if I can only remember where I put them) and a suitcase full of jumpers, yes, we were ready for our great British get away.
Our original plan was a week in North Wales, a place I’d spent many a half term and Easter holiday all those years ago. Memories of swimming in the river in Beddgelert, diving (all be it a meter) for quartz and then selling it to passing tourists on the off chance we’d make enough for ice cream! Oh the entrepreneurial years! I remember it being like a scene out of Swallows and Amazons or The Railway Children, believe me, I have a vivid imagination, I’m sure my memory is a little more idyllic than the reality of 2 weeks of April Showers! Oh the Welsh rain. I better put the waterproofs in.
As our trip approached and the reality of the five and a half hour drive dawned, we decided a slight detour via South Wales and the beautiful Monmouthshire Valley was in order to see our wonderful friends, Ben and Steph Culpin, who just happen to be award winning cider farmers. Located in the Monmouthshire hills at Whitehouse Farm, we arrived to blistering sun, driving the tree lined orchard drive, the rolling hills, rich in produce, took me back to holidays in the South of France. It was truly breath taking. We’re we really in the U.K.?
On arrival at the farm we were welcomed by our great friends; Ben and Steph and the cider tasting commenced, with the promise of a riverside barbecue that evening. Food prep under way, as the armature chef in me took over and cider flowing we loaded up the car and took a short drive through the orchards to a beautiful meadow by the glistening waters of the Monnow River. A perfect spot for a barbecue and where my love affair with Apple County Cider, as my summer drink of choice, was sealed. Steaks on the barbecue and the smells of wood smoke filling the air, nothing could have been more perfect than the crisp fresh taste of a perfectly chilled, lightly sparkling Dabinett cider, in all its golden glory. Needles to say we drank long into the night, the expression; eat drink and be merry certainly rang through the Monmouthshire valley that evening, before stumbling back up the hills to the comfort of our beds.
The weekend continued in a similar vein and our two day visit on route to North Wales, quickly turned into 4 days on this stunning cider farm. Finally it was time to move to our next location but not before loading the car at the farm shop with several crates of Dabinett and saying our good buys to our wonderful hosts, Ben and Steph.
With a three hours drive ahead of us we took the scenic route, taking in the stunning welsh landscape as the sun continued to shine, reveling in the thought of and ice-cold glass of Apply County Cider by the Aberglasslyn River on our arrival. It didn’t disappoint.
With the car unpacked we settled in for our now shortened stay in North Wales and the memories of my younger days came flooding back. As the sun continued to shine we took in the stunning Portmeirion, known to some as the home of ‘Number 6’ in The Prisoner, as I was often reminded by my parents and now home to the rather aptly named No6 Festival, a must for festival goers as the location alone is incredible and well worth a visit. In the days that followed we also hiked the beautiful Aberglasslyn Pass where I’d spent many an hour as a child and also took on Snowdon via Llanberis Pass, taking in the stunning views of the Snowdonia National Park, just as I remember it and safe in the knowledge that a well deserved glass of crisp chilled Apple County Cider awaited us on are return to our cottage, as reward for our efforts. It was certainly idyllic trip.
So with summer on it’s way once more and the barbecue lit as I write, it’s fair to say, once I stop typing, I will be taking the top off a bottle of perfectly chilled Apple County Dabinett, taking me back to memories of a wonderful great British holiday and will be planning a return trip for this summer. Yes, I can happily say I’m a convert to holidaying in the UK, al be it with the odd weekend in Italy and occasional mini break to New York thrown in.
And it goes without saying, if your planning a barbecue anytime soon, then get a case of Apply County Dabinett Cider on order, you won’t be disappointed! This award winning cider is a great British Product, winning the Great Taste Golden Fork Wales 2016 and is the perfect accompaniment for a barbecue, picnic or just because you deserve a drink. Order at http://applecountycider.co.uk
Equally, if you’re planning a UK getaway any time soon and Wales is on your list, then make sure you visit the Whitehouse Farm shop to pick up your Apple County Cider, take part in a tasting or if you have time, plan an orchard walk. Full details on how to book can be found on the website.