Slow Food Shoreline and Westford Hill Distillers Partner to Celebrate Apple Brandy and the Ark of Taste

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Celebration event at Westford Hill Distillers on October 26th includes a cocktail reception featuring Aged Apple Brandy and a guided tour of the distilling operations and scenic historic property in Ashford, Conn. Proceeds to benefit Slow Food.

Ark of Taste Celebration, Sunday October 26th

Identifying and promoting endangered foods and production processes is central to the Slow Food movement. Westford Hill Distillers exemplify Slow Food in their use of local products, employment of traditional practices and production of a heritage spirit.

Westford Hill Distillers, New England’s first craft distiller, and Slow Food Shoreline will host a celebration to mark New England Aged Apple Brandy’s inclusion in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste. The event will be held October 26th 2014 at the distillery in Ashford, Connecticut from 1 pm to 4:30 pm, and is open to everyone.

The celebration will feature a tour of Westford Hill Distillers fermentation and distillation operation, and a one-mile guided woods walk on the historic property to the site of the Smuggler’s Tree where spirits were produced in the 1700s. The event will conclude with a cocktail tasting with hors d’oeuvres. Cost is $20 per person, proceeds to benefit Slow Food. Spaces are limited and tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.com.

Apple brandy was the first distilled spirit produced in America and has been produced since 1630. Westford Hill Distiller’s New World Aged Apple Brandy is pure New England made with a blend of Connecticut-grown apples. Earlier this year, Westford Hill Distillers worked with Slow Food International to define the process for producing true American Aged Apple Brandy for its International Ark of Taste in an effort to protect the heritage of the spirit. Westford Hill Distillers’ New World Aged Apple Brandy is being featured this month at Slow Food’s Terra Madre in Turin, Italy as an example of the craft.

“Identifying and promoting endangered foods and production processes is central to the Slow Food movement. Westford Hill Distillers exemplify Slow Food in their use of local products, employment of traditional practices and production of a heritage spirit. We are excited to celebrate their inclusion in the Ark of Taste catalog,” says Amanda Tripp, Chapter Leader of Slow Food Shoreline.

“We are proud that Slow Food recognizes the role of fruit spirits, specifically brandy distilled from apples, in our country’s food culture” says Louis Chatey, who co-owns Westford Hill Distillers with his wife, Margaret. “We appreciate the work Slow Food does to recognize those foods and foodways that should be preserved, and we’re happy to celebrate New England Apple Brandy’s inclusion in the Ark of Taste’s catalog.”

Westford Hill Distillers New World Aged Apple Brand earned Best of Category and a Gold medal at the American Distilling Institute’s 2012 judging.

“Westford Hill Distillers has collaborated with Slow Food a number of times, and we appreciate their work internationally. We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate to folks how quality craft spirits are produced. Fine brandies start with great fruit, and local Connecticut soils and conditions have been producing top quality fruit for generations,” says Margaret Chatey. Westford Hill Distillers has purchased more than one million pounds of local fruit since it was founded. Its Kirsch Eau-de-vie, distilled from pure New York State cherries, was selected to represent East Coast spirits distillation at Slow Food’s Terra de Madre when the distillery first launched. Recently Westford Hill Distillers was invited by the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History to present on the behalf of craft distillation in a series marking the history of food during the War of 1812.

About Westford Hill Distillers
Westford Hill Distillers produces a variety of fine aged brandies, eaux-de-vie and Rime organic Vodka. The distillery also custom produces for other brands such as Subarashii Kudomono, Peel Liquors, Cape Moonshine and Brodsky Bitters. Westford Hill Distillers has been in operation since April of 1998, and was one of the first craft distillers in America’s re-emerging movement. The distillery is located on a 200-acre property that has been in the Chatey family since 1919.

In 2008, the distillery earned three Golds and a Silver medal for its products and package design at the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition, with its heart-shaped Poire Prisonniere earning Best of Show in Packaging Design from among 3,500 entries. This bottle features a full-grown Connecticut Bartlett pear floating in Westford Hill Distillers’ award-winning pear eau-de-vie.

Westford Hill Distillers eaux-de-vie, brandies and expanding line of spirits is widely distributed at wine and spirits shops and restaurants around Connecticut, Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. The distillery in Ashford, however, is not open regularly to the public. To learn more, visit the distillery’s website at http://www.westfordhill.com.

About Slow Food Shoreline
Slow Food Shoreline is a local chapter of the national non-profit organization Slow Food USA. We invite our community to taste, celebrate, and champion the foods and food traditions of Connecticut. Slow Food Shoreline’s mission is to promote cooking and nutritional education, with a focus on using locally sourced ingredients, to improve the health of our region and environment.

We promote teaching scratch cooking using whole ingredients, with an additional focus on fresh, local, and seasonal products. We believe that teaching core cooking skills and encouraging a passion for good food and cooking is the best way for participants to improve their eating habits long term and become better informed consumers. Through cooking demonstrations, tastings, cooking classes, and other food education opportunities, we regularly provide the community with the confidence, knowledge, and motivation to build healthy and delicious food habits.

Ark of Taste
Slow Food’s Ark of Taste is an international catalog of foods that are threatened by industrial standardization, the regulations of large-scale distribution and environmental damage. In an effort to cultivate consumer demand—key to agricultural conservation—only the best tasting endangered foods make it onto the Ark. Since 1996, more than 800 products from over 50 countries have been added to the international Ark of Taste. The US Ark of Taste profiles over 200 rare regional foods, and is a tool that allows farmers, ranchers, fishers, chefs, retail grocers, educators and consumers to celebrate our country’s diverse biological, cultural and culinary heritage. We invite you to learn more at http://www.slowfoodusa.org/ark-of-taste-in-the-usa

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