Spirit Tree Estate Cidery (Caledon)


Spirit Tree Estate Cidery

If you’re in the mood for a picturesque winery scene and an adult beverage, but don’t want to traverse all the way to Niagara, Caledon may satisfy your desires. The Spirit Tree Estate Cidery’s stone building and manicured orchards is just as scenic; they have plenty of ciders to satisfy adults and children; and you can easily spend an afternoon there through having lunch, doing a tour and buying groceries in their quaint store.


Purchased by Tom and Nicole in 2005, the estate wasn’t opened until 2009, with their first batch of cider served a year later. The building was constructed with straw bales grown down the road with lime stucco surrounding it. The dense straw acts as a great insulation and the lime has natural anti-microbial properties, both great environmentally friendly alternatives.  

Attending the restaurant as part of a Culinary Historians of Canada event, we were treated to a special family style menu. Renditions of these dishes are available on their regular menu: a sandwich and soup combo costs $14.

To start, the butternut squash was thick and vibrant, with a hint of curry to add interest. The thick wedges of the stone ground country bread accompanying it was a perfect pairing for dipping.


With a combination of baby greens and cranberries, I expected the salad to be sweet. But, the dressing was actually a tangy mustard vinaigrette with a horseradish kick, which was more up my alley.


Of course, we had to try Spirit Tree’s star product … the cider! A lovely amber hue and intensely flavoured, it’s made on site with the apples grown using a combination of targeted pesticides and natural remedies to ensure there’s as little chemicals as possible. Additionally, they use UV light to pasteurize the product to retain the nutrients present in cider.


Cider

To go, I also picked up a 6-pack of their alcoholic canned ciders that have a bright apple taste without being overly sweet. Deciding on what to buy may be hard with their various varieties (sparkling, ice and also pear) so attending a tasting or indulging in their tasting flight may be a good way to start.



Before the guided tour and tasting, we set a base with sandwiches. The apple brie and squash with ricotta versions were too neutral and couldn’t stand up against the inch-thick yeasty bread. The chicken and lettuce version was better, adding heartiness and much needed moisture to the sandwich.


Personally, I think one of their fresh oven-baked pizzas would be a tastier choice. Sadly, we weren’t served any, but they seemed to be a popular choice.


The platter of baked goods was a great way to end the meal (normally about $1.75 each). Being pretty full from all the carbs, I still tried half a butter tart and it was heavenly … generously filled with the buttery sweet syrup embraced in a crunchy crust.  



What a journey it’s been for the North American cider, that’s as old as the Stone Ages and recently has made a come-back in popularity. Plus, it’s a great way to support Ontario fruit farmers and a gluten-free alternative for those who want a lager. If you’re in the mood for a quick drive just north of Toronto, Spirit Tree is a great getaway this fall.


Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Caledon, Canada
 Address: 1137 Boston Mills Road

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!
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