ELLSWORTH — Local apple historian Todd Little-Siebold and Khristopher Hogg of Belfast’s Perennial Cider Bar + Farm Kitchen will co-lead a live virtual tasting via Zoom as the centerpiece of Heart of Ellsworth’s Third Annual Downeast Cider + Cheese Festival running Friday-Sunday, Nov. 13-15. The virtual tasting will include a lively discussion with Maine cider and cheese makers, who will offer pairing suggestions. There also will be time for audience questions.
Sponsored by the Maine Office of Tourism and Bangor Savings Bank, the festival offers virtual and in-person activities, both free and ticketed. Those attending the virtual cider and cheese tasting Saturday, Nov. 14, will come to Ellsworth to pick up a bag of paired cider and cheese in anticipation of tuning in that evening to the talk. The pick-up will be held in conjunction with the Ellsworth Farmers Market inside the J&B Atlantic Building at 142 Main St.
On Sunday, local musicians Gus LaCasse and Mathias Kamin will play an outdoor live acoustic concert of old-time music on the majestic front porch of Woodlawn Museum. Folks can enjoy cider-pressing demonstrations at Fogtown Brewing Co. both Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 25 Pine St. in Ellsworth.
On Friday evening, as an added bonus this year, Todd Little-Siebold will kick off the festival with a virtual talk on the history of cider in Ellsworth. This educational talk will be available online and is free of charge.
Celebrating a revival of two traditional foods, hard cider and cheese, the Downeast Cider + Cheese Festival honors the rich tradition of Maine’s historic apple industry, the first and only event of its kind in the state.
“Ellsworth has a long history of cider-making and drinking,” Little-Siebold explains. “This rich history is rooted in the local agricultural economy, where every farm had apples for cider to drink and vinegar to preserve their food. In the earliest period of settlement, the apple trees that dotted the farmstead here were planted for drinking, to make cider, and not for eating. We know that Ellsworth cider was shipped up and down the East Coast and to as far away as China and California. Cider is now experiencing a renaissance locally and across the state, and it is so exciting to be able to showcase the amazing artisanal cider makers who are reconnecting us to our deep agricultural history.”
Besides the Maine Office of Tourism and Bangor Savings Bank, the festival also is sponsored by several local businesses including Fogtown Brewing Co., John Edwards Market, Perennial Cider Bar + Farm Kitchen and Rooster Brother.
Maine CDC safety protocols will be implemented, and the public is required to wear a mask when in attendance while maintaining social distance. For more information about the event, visit heartofellsworth.org. For more info, email [email protected]