Finally Aomori’s Own Apple Cider!
Aomori’s apples have a reputation for being some of the best tasting, highest quality gourmet apples in the world. Being fortunate to live here, Aomori has given me countless occasions to enjoy apples, whole and raw, baked in desserts, stewed, made into chilled cream soups, candied and just about every culinary creation you can imagine.
But one apple dish that I really missed from home that I thought would do well here was apple cider. The fresh tart taste of apples combined with the unfiltered natural appearance is something which has a universal appeal. Unfortunately, nobody in Japan or Aomori had ever heard of apple cider. In Japanese, the word “saidaa” (cider) generally refers to a light carbonated soda like beverage, so it was rather difficult to explain how delicious it is… until now!
Enter PaSaPa, a volunteer group from the apple producing Namioka area of Aomori City. One of their most active members, a cheery lady with an apple-red smile developed Aomori’s (and Japan’s) first ever apple cider last year. I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year at work and got to sample her excellent brew. She told me that she got the idea to start apple cider after hearing that it is a popular autumn and winter beverage in New York from an American visiting her home. I wish I could take the credit, but what’s more important is the result… this amazing apple cider.
PaSaPa has been serving their delicious apple cider hot and on the rocks at ASPAM, the prefectural tourism building near Aomori Station on select Saturdays and holidays. They are also serving it at Apple Hill, the Michi-no-Eki in Namioka, and one of my favorite ice cream shops and cafes in Aomori, Rashinban.
Hot apple cider comes with cinnamon and cloves if you prefer, and something that I had not seen before in the USA, whipped cream. Adding whipped cream makes it taste like a nice warm apple pie.
This past winter they served hot apple cider in Tokyo’s fashionable Omotesando district where they got a very good response. I’m hoping that Aomori’s own apple cider will catch on all over the prefecture and Japan, so keep your eyes open for it!