The British fervour for real ale is now well known but, according to one local enthusiast, sales of “real” cider are going strong too.
Fresh from helping to organise the recent Sausage and Cider Festival in Towcester, Crispin Slee has joined forces with Brackley RUFC to set up another one...due to take place on Saturday.
The events are all part of a fund-raising idea dreamt up by Crispin to use these festivals to generate much-needed income for local rugby clubs.
After the popular event at Towcester, Crispin is hoping that the Brackley festival will also attract the crowds with its promise of 44 ciders and perries, 20 varieties of gourmet sausage provided by Duncan Brown, of Brown’s Gourmet Sausages in Wollaston, and entertainment including five live bands.
Crispin, who is chairman of the mini and junior section of the Towcestrians Rugby Club, said: “In Brackley they knew what happened with the Towcester event and asked me to do the same thing. There isn’t a rugby club in the land that doesn’t need some extra money at grass roots level, and on a senior playing level numbers are dwindling. Running a rugby club is an expensive business.”
Entry to the event, which will run from noon to midnight at Brackley RUFC in Fine Lady Fields, Nightingale Close, is £1 and, once inside, visitors will have a huge selection of ciders and sausages from which to choose.
One cider on offer has been made using 100 per cent Northamptonshire-grown fruit, produced by Tom and Doreen Hillier-Bird at their farm in Hellidon.
Also on offer will be a Banbury cider made by Josephine Dakin and Antony Harrison who, according to Crispin, are “passionate about the restoration and upkeep of traditional orchards in the UK.” Their cider Thorn Brook is made entirely from English apples.
Festival organiser Crispin Slee said: “We were due to have 30 ciders at the festival but we got carried away and we’re actually going to have 44.
“We have ciders and perries from all over the country, but it’s particularly special to have ciders made from fruit grown locally and produced by local people who are so passionate about what they do.”
Duncan Brown, who renovated a small building on his father’s pig farm in Wollaston to set up his business a year and a half ago, can be found trading from Northampton Market every Saturday.
And although he makes traditional sausage types like the Cumberland he often challenges himself to come up with more unusual varieties, such as the BananaRama (lime marinated banana with pork, turmeric, fresh coriander, fennel and sesame seeds).
His variety conjured up especially for the Brackley festival is known as the Smoking Rocket, including chicken thigh, smoked paprika, fresh rocket and basil.
Duncan said: “My loyal customers expect me to come up with new recipes and like going for what is new. My ingredients have to be British where I can get it, my father was a pig farmer and Britain’s not in the greatest situation right now.”
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