Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finger Lakes Cider Week and Birthday Locavore Pairing Dinner

My dear friend and cider accomplice Elizabeth  (http://www.eruditorumpress.com/blog/author/elizabeth/) had a birthday earlier this month. And unlike most folks, this means she wanted to bring down a heap of work and organization on herself to celebrate. This means she planned and cooked a five course feast at the home of a wonderful mutual friend.

As part of my gift, I paired the menu with local Finger Lakes Ciders and provided some of the ciders for these pairings. She was kind enough to allow me to write up the pairings and combine that post with my anticipation for this year's Finger Lakes Cider Week!

Local Charcuterie Platter: Bellwether Vintage Heritage

El sourced smoked turkey, ham, rillettes, and duck confit from The Piggery. For the non-meat eaters we had local hummus by Ithaca Hummus. I enjoyed the Crosswinds Goblin cheese, Northwind Tripletree Tomme and a home-smoked cheddar. El also pickled her own cucumbers and beets.

Vintage Heritage is a very special cider cider that isn't readily available most of the time; its a cellar -aged edition of their Heritage cider. That description reads, “Dry; 6.9% alcohol; blend of European cider apples including Brown Snout, Dabinette, Chisel Jersey; this is the still version of Legacy; complex acid and tannin; an Old World cider to bring balance to your modern, hectic life.” This aged version really lets the playfully rustic side of cider shine. Its leathery, woody, tart and tannic. Delightfully different and something well worth trying if you ever get the chance.

Bellwether will be pouring samples of their ciders at the Ithaca Farmer's Market both weekends of Cider Week (and all other Farmer's Market Weekends) down at Steamboat Landing in Ithaca. 

Caprese Salad: Redbyrd Orchard Cider Celeste Sur Lie

This simple salad was constructed of local heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and drizzled with F. Olivers Picual Olive Oil. 

Redbyrd Orchard Ciders says this about this cider, "Celeste Sur Lie ’14 An elegant cider for celebration, made in the traditional style and disgorged after aging on bottle lees for over a year, giving you a beautiful helix of endless soft bubbles in your glass and a creamy buttery mouthfeel. 0.0% residual sugar, 11% alcohol/volume." This cider fits my one of my preferred flavor profiles perfectly. This is so crisp, clean, and devastatingly dry. It rings like a golden bell on my tongue every time I take a sip.

Fresh Pasta with Red Sauce: Kite and String Barrel Rye

This hand-rolled pasta was served with fresh tomato sauce with garlic and basil, homemade ricotta and a garden salad with F. Oliver's Balsamic Viniarette Dressing. This course alone would have made a wonderful birthday dinner. Elizabeth really knows how to make homey comfort food like pasta shine.

Kite and String describe this cider as, “Off Dry. Champagne style. Stirred on the lees for 1 month. Aged 1 year in Rye Whiskey barrels. Buttercream with a backbone. Oak and smoke and shalestone.” and I chose it for that combination of smoke and backbone. Typically folks, pair tomato dishes with red wines, but I think cider has a fun option of doubling down on umami notes and adding both structural notes and lively acidity. This pairing supports my argument well.
Finger Lakes Cider House Grand Cider Buffet on Thursday September 28th:

This event will be at Coltivare this Thursday evening, featuring cider oriented food and Kite and String Cidery's full lineup. This will be many folks first chance to try some of these awesome new releases.

Roast Chicken with Tomato-Cilantro Hollandaise: South Hill Cider Patina

El's chicken came from Autumn's Harvest. He roasted them and served them with green beans, roast potatoes, and smothered the dish in tomato-cilantro hollandaise sauce. This felt just as complete with sauced potatoes and beans, almost as thought the sauce is the actual star of this course.

South Hill Cider has this to say, “Patina is partially barrel aged so that bright fruit notes ring clear over a well-rounded barrel influence. Sparkling, medium bodied, fruit forward with hints of vanilla. Dry. Bittersweet apples. 8.2% ABV.” I knew we would need to continue to have strong bubbles and some barrel presence in order for the cider not to disappear entirely against such flavorful food. Thankfully, the Patina was up to the task and then some. This cider has tannic balance and smooth elegance to spare.

South Hill Cider String Band and Tasting on Saturday, September 30th

From 3-6pm on Saturday, you can stop by Agava in Ithaca to taste not only this restaurants inventive and appetizing food, but also listen to the cidermaker behind South Hill Cider (Steve Selin) play with the South Hill Cider String Band and sample their ciders.

Apple Cobbler Cheesecake: Black Diamond Porter's Pommeau

This cheese cake builds up from a graham cracker crust through a creamy crumb and is topped with Black Diamond Orchard Apples, a brown sugar oat crumble, and a burnt caramel sauce. Yes, it's decadent. Each element is necessary for the tantalizing whole. Being able to pair a pommeau with apples from the orchard that produced it, isn't a chance I get every day.

Pommeau, for those who don't love it already, is a very special cider based distilled beverage. It starts with cider which is distilled then back-sweetened with fresh apple juice and then aged on oak for an extended period. Black Diamond's Porter's Pommeau, according to Black Diamond is, “a blend of fresh cider made from Porter’s Perfection – an old english bittersweet apple and oak-aged apple eau de vie –is our take on the classic beverage from Normandie, France. Tasting Notes: Fragrances of ripe apples and vanilla, velvety tannins and a smooth, sweet finish. Enjoy it with dessert, or by the fireside with friends. Most people prefer to serve it slightly chilled. Alcohol: 20.0% Residual Sugar: 7.6% (Sweet)” And that's excactly what we did. I served this cider chilled to my dear friends with an amazing dessert. Perfection indeed.

Cider Cocktails with Black Diamond Cider in Trumansburg, NY on Thursday October 5th

At hip foodie bowling paradise, Atlas Bowl, attendees will have the chance to try classic cocktails made with a cider twist and other original mixology creations all using the ciders and pommeau of Black Diamond Cider will bowling, eating, and listing to the tunes of cider owner Jackie Merwin who will be spinning as DJ Black Diamond. What fun! 

Whether celebrating a birthday, the season, or Finger Lakes Cider Week, enjoy with friends. I raise a glass to these good times! Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!