The secluded Plaza de Manuel Uría, or town hall square, is already filled to the brim. Thousands of people pack the rest of the village. Many have come to Nava on the sidrotrenes (RENFE trains with special schedules that come to the town from all over Asturias). Little by little, the square and the adjacent streets are impregnated with the penetrating smell of cider.
Nava: cider paradise
The Nava Cider Festival is a tribute to the liquid element. It is celebrated since the year 1969, always the second weekend of July. In 1989 was declared a National Tourist Interest Party. The location of this event can not be more accurate, because Nava is a locality with its own name in the so-called Comarca de la Sidra. The pomaradas, llagares and cider houses abound in the municipality. The year produces more than 10 million liters of natural cider and the sector advances here as nowhere else, consolidating the cider with designation of origin and the new table or "new expression" ciders. Sparkling ciders, cider spirits, vinegars and musts also have a place on this land.
In this town you can also visit the Cider Museum of Asturias.
Few things have such a capacity to represent the Asturian essence in such a minimalist way as a…
Cider for everyone
In any case, the protagonist of the most famous cider festival in Asturias, the one that congregates real crowds, is the natural cider: an alcoholic beverage of low alcohol content, without gasification, made from fermented apple juice, which in Asturias tastes like nowhere else in the world. There is no better chance, no doubt, to try the first cider of the season. The Association of Lagareros offers, free of charge, the tasting of thousands of liters; you only need to knot a green scarf around your neck to identify yourself with the local fans that meet at the Town Hall Square.
A cider drink unparalleled that takes place on Saturday from 12 noon, once the queen cider of the festival has been chosen. The popularly known as the cider route begins at the same time as this tasting and does not stop throughout the weekend. It's about going from post to post and accompany the culines with cheeses, sausages, empanadas, tortillas, preñaos buns, burgundy ... Do not miss the appointment, barracks, raffles, trampolines and numerous stalls.
The best cider in Asturias
The contest to choose the best Natural Cider made in Asturias -and in Nava's own villa- is celebrated that same Saturday morning and is a major event of the event. The great majority of llagares of Asturias are presented to the same one. All seek the most notorious recognition, the advertising reach of an award of such caliber. In the final, after an arduous preselection, only the eight best ciders are present, which they compete for the prize in a blind tasting and before the expectation of the attending public. The jury is composed of 10 independent experts and the victorious cider is announced from the balconies of the consistory. The prize is presented to relevant regional and municipal authorities. A colorful ceremony, official as well as informal, in a square where the smell of cider and its effects are increasing.
On Saturday, as well as throughout the weekend, a good number of children's activities, bagpipes and regional dances, live concerts with highlights from the music scene ... Very early in the morning, the festival is still alive in more than one tent with different musical proposals.
The art of pouring
Cider pouring can do it anybody; to pour it out well is something else quite different. In Nava we can enjoy on Sunday, the last day of the contest, with the numbers one of the specialty. Those unique types who do not tremble when it comes to offering the best culin. He International Cupping Competition not only rewards espalme technique – the peculiar way in which the cider crashes on the edge of the glass and the immediate disappearance of the foam once poured -, also Elegance is taken into account, the pouring poise, the way of holding the bottle, the look of the pourer, the resistance of the carbon dioxide particles in the culines that the jury tests; even the paste: that veil of fine foam stuck to the glass, which must leave an exact trace once we have removed our lips. The winner is made public in an act to that effect and attends in full The Good Brotherhood of the Siceratores, with its official green uniform, cape and monteras included, to give greater prominence to a deserved prize.
During the week prior to these central events take place in Nava exhibitions, talks and talks, book presentations, bowling championships, tastings, gastronomic tastings. The Cider Museum organizes several of these events.
If you want to know the authentic cider culture, Nava is the place and, its festival, the moment.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com