Food

Top 3 rules for pairing hard cider with food

By: Canadian Living
Canadian Living
Food

Top 3 rules for pairing hard cider with food

By: Canadian Living

cider ICYMI, alcoholic cider (or hard cider, whichever you like) is HUGE right now. So huge that it's outpacing beer – the once default summer drink – as the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage in the U.S., according to Time. Despite being devout beer drinkers here in Canada, we're also picking up on the trend, and our own alcohol manufacturers are eagerly coming out with their own ciders. From Alexander Keith's to Pommies, Seagram and now, Molson Canadian, it seems the demand for our own homegrown tipsy apple juice is growing. The taste of cider differs according to brand, but is generally subtly sweet, crisp and light with strong apple notes. As a non beer-drinker myself, I appreciate the refreshing, casual nature and low alcohol content (most hover around five percent) of cider without the stronger flavour of beer. Because cider is a relatively new trend (well, technically it's a very old trend, but it didn't begin to rev up again until the last couple of years), many cooks shy away from pairing it with food, often mistakenly brushing it off as being too sweet for dinner. Canadian Living recently had the chance to speak with Steve Stradiotto, the director of Alcohol Beverage Innovation at Molson Coors and brewmaster of Molson's new Canadian Cider. Because we pretty much always have food on the mind (hey, it's our job!), we couldn't help but ask him about pairing cider with meals. According to Stradiotto, pairing cider with food is not as complex as it sounds – in fact, he says that because the drink is essentially apple wine, you should treat it as you would white wine at your dinner table. That being said, he did offer up his own three rules for pairing the trendy drink with grub: 1. Cut. Use cider to cut through certain characteristics in food, such as a greasy flavour or heavy texture. "The acidity in the cider is going to cut through fatty foods, such as pork sausages or cream sauces," Stradiotto says. 2. Contrast. "The acidity and carbonation in cider work wonders to contrast against spicy foods, such as a spicy sausage... or something bitter or sour would be a good contrast, such as bok choy," Stradiotto says. It's also great for cleansing the palate between courses. "It helps you move from one course to another without overpowering the food." 3. Complement. Play on the cider's sweet, acidic flavours by pairing it with foods that share these same characteristics. Sweet grilled fruit and acidic goat cheese are ideal accompaniments, says Stradiotto. Above all, Stradiotto recommends first-time cider drinkers experiment with many different flavours to find a pairing they really enjoy. Like beer, cider is a casual affair, and shouldn't be taken too seriously. "Just try it," he says. "It's shocking how well cider can work in almost all scenarios." Photography: FlickrCC/ BerntRostad
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Top 3 rules for pairing hard cider with food

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