Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunshack Cider and lazy Sunday arvos

There’s nothing wrong with a mid afternoon nap, especially in summer when a day at the beach or backyard barbeque can be positively exhausting; and particularly when alcoholic beverages are involved.

Sunshack Cider Apple for the Sunshack Cider launch at Clovelly Bowling Club, Clovelly
With the cider boom well and truly exploded in Sydney (and growing), the launch party for Sunshack Cider was going to be fun on every level: how could one complain about sipping cider, lounging about grassy knolls, a gourmet barbeque and a bit of lawn bowls?

Crowds enjoy the Sunshack Cider launch party
One doesn’t complain, especially when Sydney turns on a smokingly gorgeous day with a nice seaside breeze to cool it all down in Clovelly.

Sunshack Cider on tap for the launch party
Brewed and cold fermented in Mittagong in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Sunshack Cider started as two blokes brewing cider for their mates – who all thought it was pretty decent stuff and so said two blokes decided to take the plunge and go commercial.

Sunshack Cider is available in apple and pear varieties and is relatively dry compared to many others out there in the current market, especially some of the imported ciders. The less sweet characteristic means, for good or bad, you can drink it all day long and not get sick of cloying sweetness or indeed, a sugar high.

The Sunshack Cider shack
And so we did. At a makeshift bamboo bar replete with rattan roof and staffed by appropriately beachy boys, we downed cider by the red plastic cup full.

I initially thought I might alternate between the apple and the pear, but upon tasting the pear – with a stronger fruit flavour much more perceptible than the quite dry apple – I was a perry drinker for the rest of the day.

Apple bobbing
It wasn’t all just cider and perry through the afternoon; though that would have made for a fairly decent afternoon in itself. There was a speech or two, a deplorably daggy (intentionally satirical?) Sunshack Cider song, bobbing for apples and, given the venue, lawn bowls – by the sea, no less!

Lawn bowls
We missed the part with the proper rules and instructions of the game, but found our way onto the not lush but well manicured greens for a spot of barefoot bowls, if you could call it that.

I’m pretty sure more of my bowls ended up in next door’s ‘rink’ or in the back ditch than anywhere near the jack, but there was a decent attempt or three throughout the afternoon.

Sunshack apple cider for you; Sunshack perry for me...
I was much more successful at going to and fro, from bowling green to bar, drinking and ferrying ciders; which at 4.5% alcohol content, don’t hit straightaway but slowly turn any afternoon into a lazy one.

Fish and chips with pea mash
Thankfully the organisers had considered the eventual impact of an afternoon of cider-ing and provided a range of booze-absorbing canapés to nibble, while waiting for the main late lunch event.

Some very good battered fish with fat chips had the extra surprise of a line of pea mash - who would have thought that combination would work, but it does with lots of lemon squeezed over.

Prawn and coconut spring rolls
I had reservations about the prawn and coconut spring rolls, but these piping hot golden nuggets turned out to be surprisingly good. The firm prawns with a curried mix of coconut encased in crunchy spring roll pastry were rather inspired.

Those that missed out on canapés needn’t have worried about going hungry as later in the afternoon, the barbie was fired up by some professional help and a most delectable gourmet barbeque was to be had.

Pork belly on the barbeque
No burnt snags at this barbeque, but instead, marinated strips of pork belly on white rolls with fabulously summery salads as well as grilled skewers of vegetables and seafood.

White bread rolls

Grilled vegetable skewers

Rocket, orange, fennel, witlof salad

Potato salad

Lettuce and pear salad

Pork crackling
This is kind of a cheat's pork crackling but deliciously crunchy and naughty nonetheless. I can honestly say I took my fair share and only picked up one piece of crackling. But can you imagine that bowl and your favourite television show?

Clovelly Bowling Club
Aside from a slight breeze - which we effectively blamed for our bowls going in completely wrong directions - it was the perfect day for a barbeque and game of bowls by the sea.

Sunshack Cider: pear and apple 500ml bottles
We received some further samples of Sunshack Cider in the goodie bag for home (they'd organised a bus for guests heading back to Central station - it's all about responsible drinking, people).

The 500ml bottles are a little on the large side - at about the same alcohol content as a full strength beer, one bottle of cider constitutes 1.8 standard drinks, so be aware that something that tastes so good can still be reasonably boozy.

But lazy summer Sunday arvos and cider are just meant to be - as the Sunshack guys say, all you need is love and cider. See more photos from the launch party at my Facebook page here.

Food, booze and shoes attended the Sunshack Cider launch party as a guest of Sunshack Cider.


Simon Leong said...

loving the look of those spring rolls. always love a good crispy spring roll :-)

Anonymous said...

Love the branding: young, fresh and simple. Dunno why but food doesn't look particularly inviting to me.

retrodaze said...

Wow looks great, and what a beautiful day too!

john@heneedsfood said...

Fish & chips with mushy peas? Now that's a step away from the conventional. I've never really got into the cider thing but something tells me I wouldn't have much of a challenge in giving it a go!

Corinne @ Gourmantic said...

Ahh... memories of a great afternoon! Pity we couldn't stay too long to enjoy the rest of the food.

Vivian - vxdollface said...

Responsible drinking indeed! Hehe I'm more pear than apple too :)

Hope you had a great new years

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

It's great when they give you enough food. Sometimes at alcohol functions there isn't enough and you end up being quite tipsy indeed!

sugarpuffi said...

apple bobbing! i havent done that since....forever!

Tina said...

Hi Simon - Me too, though filling is important too ;)

Hi lateraleating - Yeah, I hadn't really thought about the branding compared to other ciders but you're right!

Hi retrodaze - An amazing (if not slightly windy) day :)

Hi John - It's just too easy on a hot summer's day. The fish and chips were really good actually :)

Hi Corinne - I know, there was so much food afterwards - a very late lunch though.

Hi Vivian - I'm not always into perry, but was in this instance :)

Hi Lorraine - Especially with cider when you don't even realise that you can get tipsy!

Hi sugarpuffi - I've never done it and don't really plan to ever... :S

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to love cider.. esp pear since it's not as sweet as apple cider. yummo! I also like how they did apple bobbing - I've never done that before! haha

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Sooo...did you have a go at apple-bobbing?

Dressed and Eaten said...

Sounds like a great afternoon. Definitely big boom of cidar here in Sydney. Love it. Haven't tried pear cider yet.

Tina said...

Hi minibites - It's such the perfect summer drink, and not nearly as filling as beer.

Hi Rita - Nope, had hair and make-up to consider!

Hi Dressed and Eaten - Oh you must try pear, but steer clear from the adulterated flavours like strawberry, blackberry etc - they're really just the new alcopops :S

Unknown said...

Love Cider, esp apple cider. These may have just replaced my usu Moscato!

Nic said...

Looks like fun, but I just can't drink cider as it's the teenage drink of choice in the UK and I just drank too much in the local park! 18 years later and it's still a no go drink!!!!

Tina said...

Hi Food is our religion - I'm on a perry run at the moment. The Sunshack pear cider is a standout!

Hi Nic - Oh no, will it take me 18 years to get over Baileys then?! :(


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