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Cider and Apple How-To’s

Published: February 12, 2014 in Food & Drink, Resources

What are the best eating apples?

If you are Tom Burford, your favorite apple is the last one you ate. Try old apples and find new favorites. And use this guide to select what may be a new favorite—be it heirloom or modern:

Tart—Ashmead’s Kernel (not for sissies), Jonathan, Pomme Gris, Roxbury Russett

Sweet—Grimes Golden, Mother, Pitmaston Pineapple, Gala, Ida Red

Balanced—Winesap (the old Virginia version), Mutsu, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Esopus Spitzenberg

What are the best cooking apples?

Depends on what you are cooking. Does the apple need to keep its shape or disintegrate? Is your dish sweet or savory? Here are a few hints:

Pie apples—Grimes Golden, Jonathan, York, Granny Smith (use a combination)

Baking apples—Norfolk Beefing, Rome

Drying—Shockley, Rall’s Janet

Apple butter and applesauce—Grimes Golden, Mother, Summer Transparent

What do I drink with cider?

Pairing food with cider requires only two things—tasting and thinking. Prepare your favorite dish. Taste it. I mean really taste it. Then sample a few ciders. Keep in mind the two pairing principles: like with like, and contrast. Here are a few options:

Like with like—crisp lemony dishes with Foggy Ridge Serious Cider, like tangy fresh goat cheese and rye crackers. Or dessert cider Pippin Gold with a rich buttery sweet apple cake. Baked pork stuffed with dried fruits served alongside Foggy Ridge First Fruit, with the fruity cider complimenting the fruity meat.

Contrast— The best contrast pairings always have a echo. For example, dry Serious Cider with heirloom pork tenderloin schnitzel, lightly breaded and pan fried in butter with a lemon butter sauce. This is a fat dish with a lean dry cider, but with a citris component to both.

How do I cook with cider?

The best thing about cooking with cider is the “Cook’s Measure”, the sips set aside for the chef. Use cider to braise pork and venison, poach fish and shrimp, steam vegetables and mussels. Use cider to finish sauces using juices from pan seared chicken, squab or beef. Create a glaze with Sweet Stayman for spicy BBQ. Or concoct a sweet drizzle with confectioners sugar and Pippin Gold. And when you find winning combinations, be sure to let Foggy Ridge know your secret!

Getting Creative

Foggy Ridge Cider customers are a creative lot. In a Far Southwest Virginia county that doesn’t sell liquor, one sommelier created Apples and Oranges, a cider based cocktail bursting with ginger, oranges and deep spicy flavors. Table 16 in Greensboro, NC serves a Cider Royale, made with Serious Cider and Cassis. Chef Natasha Shishkevich drizzles First Fruit over her Butternut Squash Soup. Get in the kitchen and get creative.

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