This year we had the good fortune to be invited to join in the traditional Winter Wassail celebration at the absolutely gorgeous Sea Cider Farm here in Saanich. I have to admit this was my first time out to the cider house: what a beautiful spot! Set on a gentle hill overlooking the straight, this pretty apple farm is home to one of Canada’s true home-grown treasures and some of the best cider I’ve ever tasted. I was recently in Seattle for a workshop and what do you think they were serving at the wrap party? That’s right! A small, boutique cider from none other than Vancouver Island was being thoroughly enjoyed across the border at a big city shin-dig. It had me even more excited for the celebration that I would attend the next day with my family.
For those not in the know, wassailing refers to a traditional ceremony that involves singing and drinking the health of trees in the hopes that they might better thrive. The purpose of wassailing is to awaken the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn. For me it simply means a taste of England and a chance to enjoy good food, good friends, some great music and even some amazing Morris dancers. We came, we ate, we drank and we sang – and Sunday afternoons simply don’t get any better than that!
I’d like to acknowledge the fantastic vendors that made the day so special – if you get a chance, I thoroughly recommend seeking them out and feast on the fabulousness yourselves: