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VIU: Margot from the Ciderhuis

Wine arrangements are out, cider is in! In the UK and even the US cider is hotter than hot. No wonder Margot Sanderse from Het Ciderhuis wants to make Utrecht a cider-city. I met up with Margot at Café Derat, one of the cafes that pours her ciders.

Ciderhuis Explore Utrecht 2Margot, tell me: how did it all started?
I worked in London for a few years until the financial crisis hit the UK.
I had to go back to the Netherlands because looking for a job is even tougher when you’re a foreigner. I had the idea though, to start my own business. At first I wanted to make my own cider, but this is very difficult in The Netherlands as we don’t grow the specific cider apples. I decided to import English ciders, so one year ago all the ideas and plans came together and Het Ciderhuis (Dutch for ‘The Cider House’) was born. I sell more than twenty different kinds of cider.

Why cider?
I just love cider! Besides, we all know beer and wine. Over the last few years, ciders got really popular in the UK. The Netherlands is surrounded by cider-countries like France and Germany. It’s about time people from Utrecht start drinking ciders too! It’s the right time as well. People are eating more healthily and don’t want to eat or drink added sugars, artificial flavours and colours. Real ciders are one hundred percent natural, unlike drinks like Jillz and Strongbow. Cider is also very versatile: whether you like dry and bitter or sweet and fresh, there’s always a cider for you.

What’s your favorite cider?
A lot of people ask me that, but I really don’t know. There’s a cider for every occasion. I love a dry Perry to replace a white wine, Hallets in front of the fireplace but on a sunny day I drink Shaky Bridge on a terrace. Cider has so many different flavours, it’s suitable for everyone. That’s one of its strong points. Besides, if I wouldn’t love a cider, I wouldn’t sell it. You have to love what you sell, right?

Let’s talk some Utrecht. What are your go to-spots in this city?
Definitely one of the cafes where they pour my ciders, but I like having coffee at Blackbird (Oudegracht). For a drink I often visit De Zaak (Korte Minrebroederstraat). I like the concept of Pickles (Drieharingenstraat) and I love De Kazerij and Sector 3 at the Twijnstraat as well. At the Oudegracht there are three second-hand shops in a row, I like to buy clothes there. I hardly ever shop though. I don’t have the time and I’d rather invest the money in my business.

I know one of your goals is to make Utrecht a true cider city. What else do you want to accomplish?
It would be so nice to be able to order one of my own ciders throughout Utrecht, but I’d also like to expand to other cities like Den Haag and Amsterdam. And I’d love it if festivals would sell cider besides beer and wine!

You made me, and Explore Utrecht’ readers no doubt, curious: where can I find your ciders?
Here, at Café De Rat, at the corner of Springweg and Lange Smeestraat, Kafé België (Oudegracht), Café Jan Primus (Jan van Scorelstraat), Restaurant Podium (Domstraat), Bistro Madeleine (‘t Wed), Bert’s Bierhuis (Twijnstraat and Biltstraat), a lot of markets like Pure Markt in Amsterdam and De Streekmarkt here in Utrecht (Mariaplaats) and of course in my webshop. I’m obviously looking for a lot more cafes, restaurants and other ways to sell my cider.

Note: Interview by Sanne Wierda – love is the new black

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