I previously wrote about a feast we had at a local restaurant, Feast, with seafood and French hard cider. However, with social distancing in full swing and no restaurants open, my wife and I decided we needed to create our own feast. We are known for putting together some awesome pizzas so for this “Feast at Home”, we went with a wild sourdough quattro fomaggi pizza. Of course, we needed to pair it with a good hard cider. While I could have pull out several options like Silver Sun, Mission Cider, or Monsoon Cider from last years pressing, we opted for a sparkling French bottle we picked up earlier at one of the bottle shops.
A cheese pizza with hard cider may not sound like a feast, but when that cheese pizza is made using a homemade wild sourdough crust that is topped with homemade organic red sauce, organic ricotta, organic smoked mozzarella, organic gouda, and organic parmesan along with organic whole leaf basil and some oregano, that cheese pizza transform into a mouthwatering bonanza for your taste buds when you slide it onto a pizza steel at 500F. Just look at it. Yes, it tasted as good as it looked.
Pair that pizza extraordinaire with a Julien Thurel Cidre Cuvée Nectar from 2016, and you get “A Feast at Home”. The Julien Thurel is a low ABV, semi-dry, sparkling hard cider that has notes of every element a hard cider should have. It has some fruity esters and phenols on the nose. The taste is a slightly tart, slightly sour, and slightly bitter apple that also has a mouthfeel dominated by a high level of effervescence. The finish is medium to long with some astringency included for good measure and a touch of sour at the very end.
The smokey, salty, and fatty cheese was a direct contrast to the bubbly, acidic, and slightly sour hard cider. The crust had a nice chew with a thin layer a crunch on the bottom. The slightly acidic but wonderfully spiced tomato sauce and earthy notes from the basil was complimentary to this cider. This was one of those meals I could just keep eating and drinking even though I was full. The flavors were just that good. It also helped that the ABV was only 4.5%, which made finishing the bottle easy without the risk of a headache in the morning.
Of course, finishing the bottle was a lot easier when you have some recently churned organic dark chocolate almond ice cream with organic cranberry shortbread cookies to savor. I did say this was a feast! My wife used 85% cocoa dark chocolate chips for the ice cream, which gives it a rich chocolate depth that creates a foundation for almonds and almond extract in this creamy goodness, Besides a cider and apple geek, I am also a certified cookie connoisseur. Every time I eat one of these cookies, I can’t believe how much I enjoy them. They are crispy and flaking with an underlying taste of butter and a hint of salt. Crispy cookies are not my normal style, which is why I probably surprise myself every time I eat them. When you combine that with the little nuggets of dried cranberries that are both sweet and tart, you get a masterpiece of flavors. I just can’t get over how much I enjoy them.
Want to make your own feast at home? Get my book and check out the food and hard cider recipes and pairing. You can craft your own hard ciders and match those with food that use or just pair well with hard cider.
Making and Experiencing Hard Cider