Ampleforth Abbey blessed with blossoms as monks pray for a bumper harvest

The monks of Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire have unveiled their new Ampleforth Abbey Still Cider at the Malton Food Lovers Festival last weekend.

Thursday, 5th June 2014, 10:12 am
Ampleforth monks

Launched in time for summer to complement the Abbey’s existing range of premium and sparkling ciders, the cider (6.5%) is harvested from the Abbey’s cider orchards, the most northerly in the UK. Matured for around six months before being filtered and bottled on site at Ampleforth, the medium sweet, uncarbonated cider has a distinct apple flavour.

With the orchard’s 2,000 trees already in full bloom, the Abbey hopes to exceed last year’s bumper crop which produced around 70 tonnes of apples for its cider and cider brandy. Its sales team have already seen new demand for the cider for the UK and abroad, with 57 per cent more stockists than this time a year ago.

Ampleforth Abbey has produced its famous, multi-award winning Ampleforth Abbey Cider for over 10 years, with the monks, estate staff and pupils from Ampleforth College all lending a hand at harvest time. The cider was recently named ‘Cider of the Year’ for the second year running at the Dales Festival of Food and Drink.

As with all of Ampleforth’s enterprises, the core values of the Rule of St Benedict lie at the heart of its cider production, supporting the work of the Abbey and investing in its future as the largest and most forward-looking Benedictine community in the UK.

Background to a legend

Set in one of North Yorkshire’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ampleforth is the UK’s largest and most forward-looking Benedictine community, and a thriving educational institution.

Steered by a moral ‘Compass for Life’ nurtured by the Benedictine ethos, children are taught at co-educational Prep school St Martin’s Ampleforth (3-13) and Ampleforth College (13-18). Ampleforth also runs the Oxford University college St Benet’s Hall.

Ampleforth Abbey visitor centre welcomed its 30,000th visitor in April 2014 and the Benedictine monastery at Ampleforth is a centre for spirituality, education, pastoral work and evangelisation.

Ampleforth was established in 1802 when the monks returned to England, following a 200-year exile in France following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. The famous Abbey orchard now has some 2,000 trees and more than 40 varieties of apples, some of which are used to make the famous Ampleforth Abbey Cider and Cider Brandy.

The abbey also started selling Ampleforth Abbey Beer in 2012. Derived from a 17th century recipe in the Belgian Trappist style, the beer is brewed in partnership with local brewery Little Valley Brewery.