Refining the taste of Hardanger
A characteristic taste is essential in creating a strong identity. Cider makers in Hardanger and Hardangerrådet are set to collaborate with professionals from Slovenia, as well as the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and Nofima research institutes, to build an even stronger brand.
“The project will help strengthen the Sider frå Hardanger (“Cider from Hardanger”) identity and brand. It is extremely exciting to have national and international researchers on board, as well as international production environments to promote quality and local value creation, while also being able to contribute our experience and expertise,” says Kjetil Widding, CEO of Hardanger Siderprodusentlag.
A lot of great wine is produced in the Balkan countryside, but it is not widely known. The aim now is to achieve recognition on a par with the famous French and Italian wine regions. In order to achieve this, we need to have excellent systems in place for skills development and transfer. The project will develop an e-learning platform where researchers, winemakers in the Balkans and cider makers in Hardanger can come together to collect and share new knowledge.
Hardangerrådet will also play a key part in the project.
“As a regional stakeholder, Hardangerrådet will participate in this project to help develop the region and build its identity through collaborations across industries and municipalities,” says Jostein Eitrheim, CEO.
Characterisation of chemical components
NIBIO will develop a system to characterise key chemical components typical to the Sider frå Hardanger taste. A smooth, fine and recognisable quality can be ensured through clear production guidelines.
“Knowledge about the flavouring additives and chemical components that provide the typical taste of Sider frå Hardanger is crucial to being able to produce a smooth, fine quality. At NIBIO Ullensvang, we will establish a cider centre that will provide organoleptic assessment and analysis of taste components to the cider makers in accordance with international standards,” Ingunn Øvsthus, NIBIO researcher, explains.
Researching taste experiences
The organoleptic panel at Nofima will also play a key part in the project. The panel consists of ten judges who are experts in describing the taste and aromatic properties of food and drink. For this project, the taste panel will develop a taste map for Sider frå Hardanger under the leadership of Sensory Analyst and Project Manager Mats Carlehøg.
“In order to understand the sensory experience of Norwegian cider and to be able to communicate this to consumers, we will create a language of cider and this is where our taste judges come in. In order to be a good taste judge, you need to have a highly developed sense of taste and smell and you need to practice. Part of our work in this project will be to assist in the development of an organoleptic panel in Hardanger,” says Mats Carlehøg, Sensory Analyst and Project Manager at Nofima.
Establishing a research and development centre for cider
Sider frå Hardanger has protected geographical indication, a confirmation that the special environment found in Hardanger gives the cider originating here a highly unique character. As part of this research project, local expertise will be developed in both Hardanger and the Balkans.
The Hardanger research and development centre for cider will launch during the project period. NIBIO will play an important part in its establishment and in the development of the e-learning platform. Meanwhile, Nofima will be responsible for establishing the organoleptic panel at the centre.
Asbjørn Børsheim, chairman of the cider maker’s association Siderprodusentlag, has high expectations and is looking forward to getting started properly. “This project will help further develop and gain further international recognition for the Sider frå Hardanger brand,” he concludes.
Facts about the research
The project Uncorking rural heritage: indigenous production of fermented beverages for local cultural and environmental sustainability is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation. The aim of the project is to foster the development of rural areas by improving common research capacity and knowledge dissemination applied to the “terroir” approach for wine and cider production in selected areas of Slovenia, Croatia, North Macedonia and Norway.
The project participants are: Nova Gorica University (UNG), Slovenia, the municipality of Obcina Ajdovscina, the city of Pozega, Polytechnic in Pozega, Tikves Winery, NIBIO Ullensvang, Nofima, Hardangerrådet and Hardanger Siderprodusentlag
What is Sensory science
Sensory science is the science of sensory perceptions of stimuli – through sight, taste, smell, touch or hearing.