The two main cider production areas in Norway are the regions of Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord. Hardangerfjord has been an important European tourist destination since the 19th century. The area offers spectacular nature and living culture, and is a perfect choice for active or more relaxing holidays. The fjord is 179 km long and is the 3rd longest in the world.
In the Hardangerfjord region there are some of the most amazing hikes in Norway. Hardanger is a region with a living cultural heritage. The Hardanger fiddle, the traditional Hardanger folk costume and Hardanger embroidery are all well known in Norway and regarded as national symbols.
During the 13th century growing of apples was introduced in Hardanger by monks from England. Today 40% of all Norwegian fruit is grown in the Hardangerfjord region including apples, sweet cherries, pears and plums.
The Sognefjord, situated in the middle of Fjord Norway, extends all of 204 km inland and contains some of the wildest and most beautiful scenery in Norway. The area has dramatic muntains and fjords, unique cultural attractions and a large choice of exciting activities for the whole family.
National Geographic Traveler magazine has called this area “the world’s most iconic destination”.
Cider production has a long history and tradition in Norway, especially in the regions of Hardanger and Sogn. Documentation of growing fruit has been found dating back to the 13th century. It was the Cistercian monks who first planted apple trees in the region. In Hardanger, the production was considerably large in the period between 1890-1920. In 1921, however, stricter laws were put in place around the sale of alcohol, and the following year Vinmonopolet (the Wine Monopoly) was founded. That shut the cider factories down, but the traditions lived on in people’s cellars and outhouses. The cider produced at home was had a varying quality, and was often sweet and high in alcohol.
One of the most common variety in Norway is the Gravenstein apple, grown particularly in the provinces of Telemark and Hardanger. In Hardanger a memorial has been erected for Johannes Pedersen Aga who planted the first Gravenstein tree in Norway in 1792. The town of Sogndal, home to numerous orchards, has named one of its streets Gravenstein Street.
In Norway, cider (sider) is a naturally fermented apple juice. Pear juice is sometimes mixed with the apple to get a better fermenting process. There are also three brands of sparkling cider with an ABV of approximately 10%. The most common apple varieties are Idunn, Raud Prins, Crown Prince, Discovery, Aroma, Raud Aroma and Karin Schneider, as well as some heritage varieties like James Grieve, Yellow Gravenstein, Lord Lambourne, Signe Tillish, Raud Torstein, Ripston, Tormodseple, Bramley Seedling and Green Sour Plate.
Cider Tourism has been mainly developed in Hardanger and Sogn, being the Siderruta one of it’s most representative expresions. This is the only fruit and cider route in Norway, and it brings together three farms where each offers a different experience.
The Ulvik Frukt & Cideri frows many old types of apples giving a wide self production of juice and cider with a variety of tasty experiences. The traditional fruit farm Hardanger Saft- og Siderfabrikk has a large production of apple juice and cider and a modern destillery where they produce of apple brandy. In Syse Gard you will feel the power of life and tradition in an innovative farm environment. This is a multifunctional farm with production of fruit and mutton prepared and sold in its own farm shop. All of them offer guided tours and experiences for tourist,
The Cider House is an ecomuseum, part of a sustainable craft tourism initiative in which artisans are chosen for their commitment to quality and authenticity. Located in Balestrand in Sogn. They produce different beberages made from fruit and berries under the Balholm Brand. In the summer you can join a cider tasting and learn how they distill brandy and make sparkling cider using the traditional method. They host groups all year round for lunch or dinner, interpretation programs about cider and fruit and cultural walks
he Ulvik Frukt & Cideri offers a guided tour about the production of cider with tasting of the various varieties of apples together with the history of the orchard and how the production year lasts. Afterwards, the guests taste the different types of ciders.
In the Syse Gard showroom, you’ll be introduced to the history of the farm, all the products and the daily life . You will taste samples of apple juice, cider, dried and cured leg of mutton etc. If the weather is nice, you can have a walk around the orchard and the smokehouse. In addition, the guided tour touches on aspects like fruit picking, mountain pasture, fruit growing, how to smoke meat, produce jam and preserve plums.