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St-Nicolas Orchards & Cider Mill

Cidermaker produces a unique ice cider

After being ignored by Quebecers for decades, local cider is now gaining its letters of nobility thanks to the dedication of its craftsmen. Among them, Patricia Daignault and Pierre Lafond produce some of the best classified ciders in the world.

The site is enchanting and its owners are passionate. Patricia Daignault and Pierre Lafond have been operating St-Nicolas Orchards & Cider Mill for over a quarter of a century. Located on one of the oldest apple orchards in North America, in Saint-Nicolas, a southern suburb of Quebec City, their farm features an extraordinary panoramic view of the St. Lawrence River.

As their objective was to produce and sell bubbly, dry and mellow ciders, the couple obtained manufacturing and sales permits for this purpose in 1993. Their farm products won instant success with connoisseurs, but the public at large was not attracted right away. Yet, the Beverage Testing Institute of Chicago classified three of the products from St-Nicolas Orchards & Cider Mill (Le Vire-Crêpe light cider, Vergers St-Nicolas strong cider and Rosé des Vergers St-Nicolas) among the word’s best. “We then had the idea of producing ice cider, said Patricia Daignault. With this flagship product, we were hoping to bring cider back to the dinner table.”

While conducting their research, the couple found there was no ice cider being made elsewhere in the world from frozen apples. So, they left to study the icewine making technique in Germany. Later, the Daignault-Lafond took part in a Quebec study on naturally frozen apple pressing techniques. They found that best method to produce ice cider is to pick late harvest apples such as McIntosh and Cortland at the end of fall and leave them outdoors in open bins, to be exposed to the dry and icy St. Lawrence winds for three or four months. “The longer the apples are exposed to the winter cold, the greater is the sugar concentration and the better it is”, explained Patricia Daignault. If a dozen apples are needed to make a bottle of cider, up to fifty are necessary to produce a half-bottle of ice cider. Served cold (4°C), St-Nicolas Ice Cider goes perfectly with foie gras, blue cheese or berry desserts. Its velvety texture also makes it a first choice aperitif.

Products for sale in LCBO & Vintages & SAQ outlets in Quebec.
More products are available through private ordering

As seen on enRoute website:

Cremant Cidrerie St-Nicolas (Sparkling Light Cider)
“Very dry and crisp, like champagne.”

“A nice alternative to Prosecco or a brut champagne.”

“Yellow apple and honey aroma.”