Salt Spring Wild Cider
151 Sharp Rd
Everyone needs a good go-to place, even (or especially) island folks. You probably know what I mean: that special spot where you can show off some of the local artisan whatnot to impress guests, or just go share a drink outside at a picnic table with friends on a sunny day. Salt Spring Wild definitely hits all the marks with a constantly evolving cider and tapas menu. And perhaps the biggest bonus of all is that pups and kids are welcome.
But first, a little history. The cidery is housed in an old barn from 1935. When I first started visiting just after they opened in 2015, it was only the original structure with the tasting room housed in an old mule stall. Happily, the owners recently built an addition so even more folks can enjoy an afternoon there.
The ciders themselves are from a variety of local apples collected on Salt Spring. The flavors are lush and imaginative, with offerings that go beyond the usual apple. Personal favorites include the Bitter Orange Rosemary, Ginger, Hopped Apricot and the seasonal Plum.
And one of the most exciting developments is that of a weekend tapas menu, thanks to the talents of a new chef (formerly of the renowned restaurant “Le Crocodile” in Vancouver, BC, no less.) Small plates like Poached Fig Summer Squash Skewers that are stuffed with Cambozola and Blue cheese comes out looking like art, and have a fantastic riot of flavors to match. Plus, there’s gluten-free and vegan options for those of you that need it.
Happily, if you’re smitten with any of the ciders you’ve tasted in your flight there are full bottles for sale in the tasting room that can be taken home. Vancouver residents can find them in certain shops as well.
So pick a warm afternoon and grab a table outside looking at the apple trees and the rolling hills below. You might even catch a glimpse of quail or deer wandering around. It’s that kind of place.
The Lowdown: Cider tasting room with tapas
Photos & words by Stephania Jean