The perfect pairing as stunning cider meets summer parties
Pairing cider with food is not always held in the same regard as the pairing of wine. With complex flavour profiles coming from such an extensive range of apple varieties, pairing cider with food is in fact an important one to consider.
Richard Johnson, cider maker at Thatchers Cider, gives us the lowdown on how best to pair cider with summer’s fabulous flavours.
“Summer is upon us, and as we’re revelling in the longer warmer evenings, many of us will be enjoying a cider or two to keep us refreshed. For some, barbecues will be in full swing, as outdoor eats become the order of the day. But have you thought of how to bring the best out of both by introducing cider and food pairings?
Here in the West Country we’re surrounded by stunning apple orchards that will soon be resplendent with fruit. The varieties are too many to mention – here at Thatchers we have one orchard alone that contains 458 varieties. Some are for eating, some for cooking, and of course, some are for pressing into cider.
The diversity of this beautiful fruit allows cider makers such as ourselves to create many different styles of cider – using bittersweet and bittersharp cider apples for traditional ciders, through to eating apples for sweeter, more contemporary ciders. This amazing range of cider styles makes for some really interesting pairings when enjoying cider with a meal, whether that’s a barbecue, picnic, social gathering or more sophisticated dining.
So how would you go about deciding which cider to choose to match with the meal you are enjoying? Well of course you can experiment, and have lots of fun doing so. We enlisted the help of drinks expert Susy Atkins to explain the science behind such pairings.
Susy explains that the basic principles of pairing cider with food are the same as with wine. The most important thing to consider is the cider’s sweetness level, and she suggests balancing like with like. Choose a dry cider with savoury food, and choose a sweeter cider to accompany desserts – a dry cider would taste harsh and tart if you were to drink it with a sweet dish.
The next characteristic to consider is the cider’s acidity. Apples are full of natural acidity, giving a cider its refreshing nature. A crisp, fruity cider that has a clean and refreshing taste pairs beautifully with white fish, seafood or summery salads.
A crisp, juicy cider is also perfect for cutting through rich and spicy foods, which is why cider and an aromatic curry complement and balance each other perfectly.
A full-bodied cider that is rich in texture will take on more robust and strongly flavoured dishes – a classic roast beef lunch, for example, or stronger cheeses. Full bodied ciders are usually high in tannins – these are the natural plant compounds that are found in the apple and extracted in the juice. Tannins and proteins stand up well to each other but take care, stronger tannic ciders aren’t for delicate dishes.
If you’re planning a picnic or barbecue, then you will probably want to choose a more easy-going, fruity cider. Low level tannins in this style of mellow cider mean they rarely clash with anything, and complement the creamiest sauces, salad creams or soft textured foods like eggs or avocados which are perfect with cold meats and salads. These types of ciders are also great ciders to cook with.”
Why not take a visit to Thatchers’ Cider Shop at Myrtle Farm, Somerset BS25 5RA
For more information visit www.thatcherscider.co.uk