We have all heard of wine parings, perhaps you’ve even been to a cocktail and food event. However last night a compact group of locals gathered to enjoy a rather unique event, Aspall Cyder pairing dinner. Now cider is about the only thing I will not order but the other half is a fan and I am always looking to learn so here is how it panned out.
Arrival drink: Aspall Cuvee Chevallier (the name of the family who started Aspall’s back in 1728 and still run it today) served from a champagne style bottle in flutes. Your mind says “Champagne” but the palate says “cider”, which is weird. Nice and light.
Scallops with Aspall Lady Jennifer: named after the grandmother who added apple juice or water to her glass to “keep up with the boys”, the additional apple juice means this is a lighter 4% offering and has a nice spritz. Works very well with the seafood (which was delicious, love the edible flowers)
Duck with Aspall 2012 Imperial: bit of a beast at 8.2% and a darker colour but this comes from the addition of Demerera sugar. I liked the first few sips but then it became…cider. One to try though! The confitduck leg that unravelled from the cabbage was a huge hit!
Apple and Rosemary Tarte Tatin (with apple jellies, sorbet and crisps) with Aspall Perronelle’s Blush (added Blackberry Juice): what can I say, this blew me away. Not the cider but the dessert, delicious and the chef gave us the recipe! The cider was a little lacklustre against the previous, I would have enjoyed drinking more of the Imperial with this. However it was suggested that you can use this as a cassis so top up with the Cuvee.
So what did I learn? Well a lot about cider, the (actual) difference between White Lightening and “proper” cider beyond quality. A lot about a family owned business with a lot of success. I met the lovely Nathan of Aspall (thanks!) and now have a very valid alternative to Champagne which some friends – for some reason – do not enjoy.
(But as a Champagne Academy alumni I’ll stick to the real fizz for the mo!)
Youngs are running several events with Aspall throughout the summer and I urge you to go and learn and taste and then spread the word yourself. The specialties are available in some Waitrose, Sainsburys but it never hurts to ask your local to stock something you want. #quackingcyder seems to be the twitter tag to follow, @nathansloane or @youngspubs or @aspall