The country’s best cider is about to be celebrated and the good folk of Melbourne are invited to the party for the Cider Festival 2014.

More than 1500 people are expected to flock to this weekend’s Australian Cider Festival, which will be held in Melbourne for the first time.

Ormond Hall at The Village Melbourne will come to life on Saturday and Sunday, with over 20 stalls sampling dozens of cider and perry styles.

Cider producers at the festival include Apple Thief, Batlow Cider, Bilpin Cider, Endless Cider, Flying Brick, Franklin Cider, Hazeldean Forest Farm, Hillbilly Cider, LOBO, Lucky Duck, Mock Red Hill, Napoleone Cider, Cheeky Rascall, Small Acres Cyder, Snakes and Ladders Cider, Spreyton Cider, Thatchers, The Hills Cider Company, Too Many Chiefs, Weston World Brands and Willie Smith’s.

Festival goers can make their way to The Village Melbourne Brasserie for live entertainment and cider-matched food offerings, including:

  • Pork belly sliders with apple relish cider,
  • Pulled pork po’ boys and pan seared scallops with pork belly.
  • Veal cutlet with caramelised apple and cider jus
  • Grilled baby octopus on soba noodle and wakame salad, apple balsamic

Entry for the Cider Festival is from 1pm. Tickets will be $25 at the door and includes 20 x 50mL complementary tastings, a tasting glass, program and tasting notes.

Early-bird tickets at $20 per day are available online at www.cideraustralia.org.au

A Producers Forum will also be held at The Village Melbourne Brasserie from 10-11.30am on Saturday. Tickets cost $65 ($25 for members of Cider Australia) and are also available on the website.

“The forum will be an interactive session hosted by international expert Malcolm Reeves and is a golden opportunity for professional and home cider makers alike to learn about the craft,” Cider Australia President Sam Reid said.

The festival fun will follow on from the industry’s major awards ceremony on Friday night.

The `best in show’ prize will be announced around 9pm on Friday night at the formal event, to be held at The Kelvin Club.

“This is the weekend to celebrate cider and all of the fabulous artisan producers from across the country who are making some wonderful products that are really highly regarded by industry experts,” Mr Reid said.

“The awards dinner on Friday night has attracted more than 100 people from the industry, and 1500 people will hopefully flock to The Village on Saturday and Sunday, making Melbourne the cider capital of Australia this weekend!”.