Located at the foot of Mont Saint-Hilaire in the Richelieu valley, this four-hectare orchard thrives under the care of Hugo Poliquin and his wife Béatriz Cruz.
Every year, as soon as the temperature gets low enough (-20° Celsius), the couple hosts around 100 people to pick the frozen apples with a high sugar concentration used to produce their Prestige ice cider by means of a cryoextraction process.
The Cryo estate has been producing artisan ciders since 2007 under the direction of Hugo, who carefully formulates every variety: still ciders (hopped cider and sour cider), a sparkling cider using the traditional method and two ice ciders produced through cryoconcentration (naturally frozen apple must). The cidery also teams up with several Québec microbreweries, including Brasserie Harricana (Montréal), Délires et délices (Chambly) and Les Trois Mousquetaires (Brossard), to create experimental varieties.
The project came about through Hugo’s passion for local products and his love of farming. His ciders stand out by their undeniable quality, their consistency despite the vagaries of the weather, their great subtlety and their precise aromatic quality.
Hugo’s products bear the hallmarks of his precision, attention to detail and choice of quality over quantity. Developing a 100% authentic Québec product is a great source of pride to him. His ciders are the happy result of our cold, harsh winters’ effect on apples. The artisan cider producer dreams of seeing Québec ice cider marketed throughout the world and recognized by Quebeckers as a prestige product. He also handles the business side, but his primary mandate is creating elegant, complex ciders. Which he pulls off with aplomb.
His wife Béatriz takes care of the store and handles marketing. The products are available through the on-site store and at many Québec restaurants and microbreweries, not to mention over a dozen specialized grocery stores, including Les Assoiffés (Saint-Lambert), Le Bièrologue (Hochelaga), Boire Grand/William J. Walter Saucissier Fleury (Ahuntsic), La Grange à Houblon (Sorel-Tracy) and La Place (Québec).
Cryo ice cider has long been a big favourite of mine, so I’m happy I got to taste the product at its finest, meet these passionate artisans and share their hospitality and love of the land! Cider has a way of bringing people together.
Over a house-made apple pizza and a nice hot cider, I could listen to Hugo talk about making ice cider for hours, even in -20-degree weather.
Thank you for a day spent immersed in the world of Québec cider!