* Even the Roman Empire succumbed to the charms of our sacred drink.
Why fight if we can share some cider together?
About 2,000 years ago, after the end of the Cantabrian and Asturian Wars, the Roman Empire settled in what is now the county of Gijón/Xixón. They went to great effort above all to leave us a lot of archaeological remains for our delight: the Campo Valdés Roman baths, the city wall, the town of Veranes, etc. Well, all that… and cider. Oh no, they didn't bring cider. In fact, there are those who say that they were more into wine... However, we have observed that the members of the Antiqvi Mores Cultural Association, who are more Roman than the Romans, drink cider in excess, that’s to say, they love it.
Yes, here we are Astur and we are also Roman, but above all we are cider-lovers. Water gives us life and nourishes nature, but cider nurtures our spirit. Can you imagine the Roman legionnaires pouring out cider among the Astures? That may be why we like partying so much!
Drinking cider requires a whole liturgy. We don’t expect you to know all the rules, only the strictly basic ones. It must be poured correctly so that it froths, aerates and its flavors and aromas are brought out (you don't have to do it yourself, the cider house waiters take care of that). It’s served in rounds and should be drunk immediately in one go. And remember - it isn’t drunk as if it were wine or beer. You don't want to commit such a sacrilege!
Did you know that in Asturias we have more than 2,000 native apple varieties? They have beautiful names: blanquina, raxao, teórica, perezosa, prieta, xuanina, ernestina, coloradona, etc.
An apple orchard is called a pumarada. If you take a walk through the rural areas of Gijón/Xixón, you won’t find it hard to come across meadows full of apple trees and their unmistakable scent.
In the surroundings of Gijón/Xixón you’ll find numerous cider mills, which is where cider is made. We suggest you get to know them by taking a guided tour to find out about the production process and enjoy a tasting. Many wind up their visits with an espicha, a traditional informal meal with cheese, tortilla, chorizo in cider and other delicious home-style dishes.
In the 1st century BC, Strabo spoke of a drink consumed by the Astures called zythos. The abundance of apples and the absence of grapes and cereals rule out other drinks and make it very likely that he was referring to our cider. The word “cider” comes from the Greek sikera, and hence sizra.
Between the 6th and 5th centuries BC, a local tribe of Astures known as the cilúrnigos inhabited a hillfort on Torres Headland, very close to Gijón/Xixón. Later it was Romanized and called oppidum Noega. Today it is the Campa Torres Archaeological-Nature Park and the archaeological site with the remains of the settlement shared by Astures and Romans. Could they also have shared a drink of cider together for the first time?
After the arrival of Rome, the inhabitants of this region settled on the peninsula that we now call Cimavilla. In this picturesque neighborhood you can see the old Roman wall and visit the Campo Valdés Roman Baths Museum, located next to San Lorenzo Beach, San Pedro Church and the statue of Caesar Augustus.
A few kilometres from the city you’ll find a late Roman villa, now a museum. It is a large residential and agricultural complex where a valuable mosaic is preserved. The wealthy Romans of that time also built their luxury homes, of course.
Living well is a science