Spirit Tree Estate Cidery, Caledon, Ontario
Caledon, a region tucked into rolling hills just a little northwest of Toronto, is home to Spirit Tree Estate Cidery*. A one of a kind destination, this marvelous orchard is the realized dream of Tom Wilson (pictured below at the oven) and Nicole Judge. Tom grew up on a beef farm but spent many of his summers working in his grandparents’ orchard. Nicole’s background is also pure country and she is a veterinarian. Together they determined that, if they were to build a business together, it needed to have something to do with apples, be as sustainable as current technology could provide and support the best of local artisans and agriculture. And they’ve done it.
The cidery’s thick walls are testament to it’s straw bale construction. Inside it’s quiet and perfectly temperature-controlled because of a full geo-thermal installation. The stone oven that’s used for all the breads, the pizza and pastries is wood fired. The flour is milled, using locally sourced grains, by Mark Hayhoe, a third generation miller and whose company, K2 Milling, is another Ontario artisanal success story. Spirit Trees breads are excellent but I love both the Normandy Apple made with apples, cider and “a touch of cinnamon” and their Caledon Sourdough using a 4 year old sourdough starter. Every weekend the bakers produce great rustic pizza and an array of sandwiches served forth on freshly baked bread.
The tradition of cider-making is ancient. Champlain brought cider trees with him to the New World and they were among the first things he and his men planted in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. But old-fashioned hard cider was not a tradition that flourished in early Canada so it’s taken young chefs and restaurateurs along with growers like Tom and Nicole to cause as serious, delicious revival. In their well mulched orchards, wildflowers flourish. The cider is not heated but rather purified with a unique UV system which not only saves on fuel costs but also leaves the great apple flavours in tact.
Tom explains: Our cider is made with only tree-picked apples and contains no dropped apples (apples that have fallen on the ground). The cider is treated with our Cidersure UV Processor prior to being bottled. This is an FDA approved process that is an equally safe alternative to heat pasteurization. UV treatment is a non-thermal process that meets FDA guidelines to obtain a 5-log reduction in pertinent pathogens. This is equivalent to being 99.999% safe. By not heating the cider, we can preserve all of the flavour,nutrients and quality of the cider while still creating a safe to drink product.We offer our traditional blended cider along with several single varietal ciders such as Crabapple and Gala in season.
The sparkling sweet cider is terrific, particularly if you have to drive afterwards. Tom’s “Pub Cider” is on tap, their oak barrel-aged cider is superb with a light lunch and one of my own favourites is their Ice Cider, a sweet dessert cider that would be spectacular with their peppercorn pâté.
*The name, Spirit Tree, speaks to the ancient English tradition of wassailing…the gathering together in the orchards on Twelfth Night to wake the trees and drive away evil spirits.
Food Day Canada Menu 2016
Mushrooms on Toast
This is a dish with local mushrooms from Fresh and Tasty Mushrooms of Amaranth; Aquagreen’s microcress greens from Mississauga, Woolwich Dairy cheese and homemade chimichuri all on homemade Spirit Tree wood fired oven bread.
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery is one of about 250 restaurants that celebrate Food Day across Canada. Contact them at the number below.
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery est l’un des 250 restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs .
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
1137 Boston Mills Road,
Caledon, Ontario L7C 0N1