We've touched on cider on The Friday Delicious before, but around comes another summer and it really seems like cider is here to stay. Move over beer, the prevalence of more cider brands in the market and more on tap in pubs definitely seems to indicate that consenting adults are choosing cider as a lighter, dryer alternative to beer.
How is it made?
Cider makers take a combination of eating and cider apples, put them through a 'scratting' process (which grinds them down) to form a pommace. This pulp is then pressed and fermented in several stages, the last of which adds a sparkling quality to it and sometimes additional sugar and other flavourings are added. Different varieties form the spectrum from sweet to dry finishes.
Eat it with
Charcuterie and cheese plates - The fruitiness and acidic qualities of cider match well with both cheese (cheddars and semi-hard cheese like Appenzeller as well as Camembert-styles work well) and sliced cured meats (like prosciutto, chorizo and salamis) as the acid cuts through the fattiness and the fruitiness complements brings out the sweeter tones in both.
Spanish food - The Spanish have a long standing tradition with consuming these in tandem...and for good reason. The spiciness of chillies and paprika are tempered by the the flavours and characteristics of cider, which make them best mates.
Pork - Think how well apple sauce goes with roasted pork and you're on the right track. Pork loves things that are a little bit sweet, but acidic enough to cut through the crackling, so pick something with a dry finish to match your next roast or even bangers and mash.
Other appley dishes - Crumbles, cakes, oh my. While it's a bit of a no brainer that apples go with apples, a cider that's more dry than sweet will work well with the sweetness of dessert without sending you into a diabetica coma.
...and things that don't work as well:
- Cheese that are too strong, like Stilton or more pungent blue cheeses
- Dishes that are overly tomato-based (too much acidity)
A few to try:
Bulmers Original - Ireland
Monteiths - New Zealand
The Hills Apple Cider - South Australia
Henney's Dry Cider - UK