SIC'ER - First International Exhibition of Quality Cider (La Muestra Internacional de la Sidra de Qualidad), took place between 3-6 May 2007 in the historical town of Gijón in the principality of Asturias of northern Spain.
"Sidra Natural de Asturias" now has its own protected quality designation, D.O.P. (Denominación de Origen Protegida) as cider is the principal alcoholic drink in this part of Spain, which includes Galícia and the Basque provinces of Guipuzcoa, Viscaya and Navarra. Gijón is recognised as Spain's capital city of cider, in which an annual "cider festival" happens each August, during which every year more and more people gather in an attempt to repeat the feat of pouring this magical apple beverage in the ritual manner from above the head which is referred to as "escanciada", so as to beat the annual record in the Guinness Book of Records. In the town there are numerous restaurants with cider bars - sidrerías - where one can sample this refreshing drink in an authentic atmosphere (metal bars with wood shavings on the floor to accommodate the small measures that have to be poured away according to the ritual after downing in one gulp the measure poured into a large thin glass by one of the staff with sleeves rolled up). But not only that, these sidrerías are usually places where one can eat extremely well. And Asturian cuisine is one of the best in Spain. It is based predominantly on seafood which is found here in the Mar Cantábrico in abundance. Of special interest particularly are the giant Cantabrian crabs and lobsters kept in large aquariums inside, various kinds of shrimps such as butterfly or tiger prawns, scallops and sea urchins.
This first edition of what is to be a biennial SIC'ER brought together producers of this capricious drink not only from across northern Spain but from France, Great Britain, USA, but also from lesser known exponents Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, USA, Mexico, Japan and Canada.
Almost 300 brands from 67 producers were available at the fair which was opened by His Royal Highness Felipe de Borbón, Prince of Asturias. It is perhaps surprising considering the importance of this fine beverage in certain regions that nobody has thought of organising such a fair before. An official cider glass was chosen after a series of pre-tastings from the Austrian firm Riedel, part of its O series, a modern, though highly functional tumbler-type vessel, without base or stem.
Specialities on offer were natural Nueva Expresión ciders as well as ciders made using the champenoise method from the north Spanish regions, cidre bouché from France, hard cider from the USA, farmhouse ciders from the UK, as well as immensely popular ice ciders from Quebec in Canada.
A series of tutored tastings took place throughout the three days of the exhibition, with subjects ranging from apple varieties in the different regions, methods of production and marketing.