Cider and food go way back. In eighteenth century England, land owners brought casks of cider from their country orchards to drink at their town houses in London. Eighteen and nineteenth century New Englanders had cider daily at their meals in the cities and at farm tables. President John Adams praised hard cider as a drink for breakfast and throughout the day. And in the cider areas of contemporary France and Spain, people continue to pair cider with their meals. Hard cider has always been the natural beverage of apple-growing areas. The apple grows and is fermented, for hard cider is the ‘vin de pays’ of apple country. It is Essence of the Apple. It creates spirit and pleasure. Made from the Apple, hard cider lightens all seasons. It is regional, local, provincial.
A rule of thumb is that hard cider can give pleasure where a white wine might. Pork and chicken, vegetables and fish: all can benefit by a bottle or two of cider nearby. Ciders match well also with Asian and spicy food.
With their clean, complex, fruity tastes, our ciders go well with a wide range of foods. Cooking with cider works on the same principal: if the cooking is enhanced by white wine, it will work with cider. If the cuisine reflects the foods of apple-areas, try cooking with cider. We have changed a red wine based ‘coq au vin’ into ‘coq au cidre’ and were very happy.
The less fermented, sweeter and fruity ciders (such as Peckville Sweet) are ‘apples in a glass’. They add pure apple essence to stews, and can glaze meats or vegetables.