A Dessert Feast

What do you do when you eat at a great restaurant but don’t get to sample the desserts. You go back!

We noticed some interesting desserts on the menu at Feast the other day but didn’t get the chance to try them. So we decided to stop in again and treat ourselves to a couple. How was I to know this little adventure would turn into a mini hard cider tour!

Besides the interesting desserts, what really caught my eye was the Famille L. Dupont pommeau they had on the menu.

Pommeau: A type of hard cider made from calvados and juice or cider.
Pommeau: A type of hard cider made from calvados and juice or cider.

What’s a pommeau? Good question. In France, it is calvados and apple juice mixed together and aged. Calvados is an apple brandy that is made in specific regions of France. The fresh pressed apple juice adds some sweetness and dilutes the normal 40% ABV to around 13-17%. The calvados protects the juice from fermenting or turning and the combination straddles the divide between a hard cider and a brandy. Generally, it’s sweeter and stronger than you’d want for a dinner drink but makes a great option to serve with dessert.

And speaking of dessert… The orange and white chocolate coffee cake with sugared rosemary and cranberries and the millionaire’s shortbread with caramel, dark chocolate ganache and smoked sea salt looked as good as they sounded.

The taste didn’t disappoint either. Surprisingly, our favorite turned out to be the coffee cake. It was a nice balance of sweet with some savory elements from the rosemary. They were both excellent.

However, I had my sights on the pommeau.

Pommeau: A Rich Amber Hue
Pommeau: A Rich Amber Hue

It was a little too cold when they first brought it out, which dulled my palate to the acid and tannins and made it overly sweet. That changed once it warmed up a little. It became more balanced between sweet, tart, and astringent. It definitely had some oak in the finish. I quite enjoyed it. You can see it has a nice warm color and no carbonation, like a calvados or wine.

I could stop here and count this outing a success but our little adventure wasn’t over. We decided to stop by Craft: A Modern Drinkery to see if they had any new hard ciders to we could pick up for later. No new packaged ciders but they did have three hard ciders on tap and two were ones we hadn’t tried.

Cider Corps: Private Palmer

The first was Private Palmer from Cider Corps up in Mesa. It has a relatively complex flavor profile: orange peel, black tea, lemon, cranberry, and orange. That hard cider recipe must be a long one. If you know me, you know I like my citrus adjuncts to have the peel. I enjoy the bitters. I was surprised it didn’t have a pinker hue but they may have fermented the cranberry in the primary. That tends to drop some of the color. It is a dry hard cider with medium carbonation and a 5.8% ABV. The tea gives it a unique aroma.

The next was Winter Warmer, a hard cider from Argus. Argus is out of Texas and while I looked, I couldn’t find much out about this hard cider recipe. It’s defined as a spiced hard cider with 6.9% ABV that is semi-dry with light carbonation. Besides the spices, it carried a bitter note. We like it but picked Private Palmer as our favorite.

And when you are trying cider at the local bottle shops in Tucson, you have to get a bag of locally made artisan popcorn from [Popped]. This was the prickly pear caramel, and it was scrumptious.

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