Wilkins Farmhouse Cider, Somerset

My first weekend in England was spent down in England’s West country, in the beautiful county of Somerset. About twelve hours off the plane in London, I left the Big Smoke for quiet villages, ripening orchards, open fields dotted with cows, farmer filled pubs and the anticipation of one hell of a party!

Harry was celebrating his birthday with a big shindig, gathering about 45 of his closest friends for a rowdy night filled with dinner in the cowshed, dancing, camping and much too much drinking.
We celebrated all things West Country (England), which meant Cider was not just necessary, but mandatory. I’m not just talking cider, I’m talkin’ proper cider — scrumpy!

In my mind, there is only one place to go and that’s to Mudgley for Wilkins famous Farmhouse Cider. Roger Wilkins brews some of the finest cider in all the land. A word of warning – getting to Wilkins is no easy feat, but keep in mind the delicious taste of scrumpy rewards the intrepid traveler. A treasure hunt of handwritten signs guiding you to the Cider Farm pop up amongst grown in hedges and gorgeous vistas of the Somerset Levels. Once the treasure trove of the cider farm is found, you are greeted by panting dogs, newborn kittens and maybe a few drunken schoolboys who just recently passed their A-Levels.
Inside the ciderhouse the air is cool and men gather around tables and plastic chairs drinking their pints and grumbling in their charming Somerset accents. Four large barrels of cider tower over: two sweet, two dry.
Harry and I started out with a mug each, dry for me and half and half for him, and for good measure, one block of cheddar cheese, made just down the road. The ever friendly Roger Wilkins clad in overalls and an infectious smile pours us our pints and charges just a mere few pounds for the hunk of cheddar and scrumpy.

Even the famous graffiti artist Banksy is a fan of Wilkins Cider and has left his mark on the walls of the Farmhouse.
We found seats at a picnic table overlooking the orchards and sipped our scrumpy and cut into a wedge of Cheddar Cheese and munched on Scampi Fries (my guilty, guilty pleasure).
After a pint of scrumpy you will be speaking in a Somerset accent and singing songs from the Wurzels that you somehow, miraculously know the words to! Yup, this stuff goes right to the head.

After we enjoyed our drinks in the sun, we ventured back inside to stock up on jugs o’ scrumpy for Harry’s party! And by jugs, I mean big ‘ole gasoline looking jugs-nothing fancy!

You can find Wilkins Cider Farm information on their website here (and watch a video on the making of cider from the highly entertaining Roger Wilkins himself).

Land’s End Farm
Mudgley, Wedmore
Somerset BS28 4TU
Tel: 01934 712385

On our way home we got stuck in farm traffic, which I still find very amusing. I jumped out of the car and snapped a few photos, which quickly reminded me how Cows are the nosiest little buggers. Each cow stopped for a little glam shot, striking their best of poses. See the one on the left? He was a keen little bean and got out of line to see what the commotion was all about.

For your amusement – British to American translation of a few things “uniquely British”from this post:
 
Scrumpy – scrumpy is alcoholic cider originally made in the West Country of England, particularly a band through Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Today the term is used to distinguish locally made ciders produced in smaller quantities and using traditional methods, from mass-produced branded ciders. (wikipedia) I can’t vouch for these places in the States, but if you are looking to try scrumpy J.K.’s Organic Scrumpy Orchard Gate Gold Hard Cider brewed by Almar Orchards in Flushing, Michigan receives a high rating.
Smith’s Scampi Fries – are so addictive. Smiths Scampi Fries are a cereal snack with a delicious scampi and lemon flavor! Perfect when accompanied with a refreshing pint of cider! I know this sounds weird, but they are sooo good! British Corner Stores ships Scampi Fries Worldwide!
If you find yourself in London and are looking to take a trip to England’s countryside, I highly recommend visiting Somerset and paying Wilkins Cider a visit!

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