Cider-queen of the Sørfjorden

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Over the last years, Cider from Hardanger has become trendy. Arita Åkre from Nå is one of those who contributed to the rising popularity of this regional specialty.

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- For me, it is important to create lasting values for the community. I believe that life is not just about today, but rather about what you can create today for tomorrow.

Served at the Oscar-awards

This is what the cider producer and fruit farmer Arita Åkre says. Only a few years ago, she had a good job in the Norwegian oil and gas industry. At that time, she would hardly have believed that she would be an award-winning cider producer soon. Even less would she have thought that her own cider would be served at the Nordic Oscars during the prestigious awards ceremony in Hollywood. But Arita and her husband Gjermund managed all that and much more in a relatively short time.

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Arita’s everyday life is entirely different today than when she was an engineer in the oil industry. Today, she is responsible for sales, marketing, and the development of her business. Under their brand name EDEL, Arita and Gjermund produce apple juice, liquor, and Hardanger Cider. Using the Champagne and Charmant method, the couple innovatively developed the local cider. But that is easier said than done!

- An essential part of my job is actually communication. Many have prejudices about cider. For most people, commercial cider is a cheap, canned import product. I do work a lot with explaining the significant differences between these types of cider. Last but not least, it is my job to support the worldwide appreciation of Hardanger Cider.

- Fortunately, we are not alone with this. Most cider producers share a common goal - to strengthen the Hardanger cider in the market. The EDEL cider products and other specialties distilled from local fruits are already well represented on the drink menus of reputable restaurants. Our Hardanger Cider is also sold to Norwegian and international Michelin restaurants with up to three stars; so, we have already come a long way. Nevertheless, we continue to perfect our products and always strive for “the perfect cider”.

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A common goal

The collaboration that Arita highlights is impressive. New cider producers keep appearing, and the established players like EDEL are very optimistic about that. In Hardanger, especially in the region around the Sørfjorden, there are many cider farms close to each other - and everyone supports everyone. The established producers easily lend their equipment to their neighbors so that they can succeed too. In the end, only through cooperation, a common goal can be achieved.

- It is important for me to mention that the excellent quality of the Hardanger apples is the main component here. The fruit farmers, who work night and day for this, also play an essential role, of course. To be part of this process, developing the quality and supporting the rising appreciation of Hardanger Cider is a dream come true. Even with high ambitions also earlier, I have never thought that I once would be involved in something so exciting and important.

There are already many good options to taste Hardanger Cider. You can buy this local specialty in many restaurants and bars as well as in Vinmonopol shops. However, Arita recommends one thing in particular - a cider farm visit! At the farms, you can taste this award-winning product and learn more about the production process.

- On a cider safari in Hardanger, for example, you get a real “hands-on” experience that will give you a greater understanding and awareness of Hardanger Cider. And the next time you open a bottle of Hardanger Cider at home, you will enjoy it even more, promises Arita.

Insider tips from Arita

Sørfjorden has been a popular travel destination already for hundreds of years, and its popularity has not decreased in recent years. The “cider wave” definitely played a part in this, but also other exciting activities attract tourists from all over the world to Hardanger. Here are Arita’s best tips for your Hardanger stay:

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- Woodnest is an experience without equals, with a fantastic view over the entire Sørfjorden. Once checked in, you almost wish you could stay here forever. In addition, your hosts will serve you local delicacies from the region.

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Ski tour in summer with a view of the Sørfjorden and the cider producers, combined with good food and drinks.

- My best tip is to combine great nature experiences with culture - discover local specialties and meet the producers. You will remember these combined experiences, and you will definitely tell your family and friends about this after your vacation, concludes Arita.