Sunday Sip: Ice Cider

by whitney on January 31, 2010



This Sunday, I’m putting a little Vermont in my Los Angeles. It very well could be snowing there so, I will just take the fermented beverages and dairy products and keep my LA sunshine, thank you.

picnic

Veronica Pedraza of the amazing  Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont happens to be a friend of my dear friend Rachel.  Veronica sent her a lovely package of cheese and some Eden Ice Cider. Rachel, being the generous woman that she is, shared those gifts with us. Also, she knew that if she didn’t, we would be come to her house at a midnight hour and run swiftly away with the goods.  So we “agreed” upon the following equation- a park + sunny afternoon + a handful of smiling friends + the cheese and cider. The sum:  a bunch of happy bellies.

friends

bottle

corkage

label-age

This is an ice cider, not an ice wine. So, we’re talking apples, not grapes.  I was super excited to give this a try as I had never had an ice cider before. The husband and wife team at Eden make this cider with a blend of 5 different heirloom apples. The fruit is harvested when it is ripe and it is then held in cold storage until frost-like temperatures arrive in Vermont. The apples are pressed and the juice is left outside in the cold to freeze for 6 to 8 weeks. Water is separated and the remaining apple concentrate  is fermented. And there is no added sugar! The result is a crisp, clean and bright apple flavor with just enough natural sweetness to keep glass to lip. Delicious and a pleasure to drink. Everyone loved it.

That brings me to the cheese. Oh my. Utter and sheer joy crept on our collective faces as we began to unwrap the wonders of Jasper Hill. We had 2 new cheese friends two play with; Winnemere and Caspian. They are my new best friends.

buds

winny

innards

cross section

Is your mouth watering yet? Good. The Winnemere is a seasonally produced cow’s milk cheese with a raspberry lambic washed rind bound by a strip of spruce bark. Everything from the bark to the milk and the beer used to wash the cheese are from the farm. The star of the day was a yet to be released Caspian robiola, a group effort made on Christmas Day at the farm. It is wrapped in grape leaves and soaked in ice wine (how amazing would it have been to get our hands on a bottle of that!) As the farm has a herd of Ayrshire cows, we assume this robiola is made from cow’s milk. Although a few of us thought there might have been some goat’s milk in the mix. Robiola is a traditional Northern Italian soft-ripened cheese and is usually cow’s milk or a blend of different proportions of cow, goat and sheep. In any case, Caspian rocked my world and the subtle lemony creaminess of the robiola was delicious with the sweet tart apple cider.

fun with fig

figgy

The afternoon snacking did not stop at cheese and cider alone. Our spread of accoutrements included: raisins, almond stuffed Italian dried figs, homemade lemon poppy seed crackers, charcoal crackers, raw almonds, orange slices and honey.  What do you like to eat with your cheese and wine?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

scott luetgenau January 31, 2010 at 2:24 pm

my, oh my – those cheeses do look incredible. thanks for the note on the apple cider!

quince jam, sauternes jelly, candied walnuts, and a recent gift of crab apple mostarda work well for me.

adrian January 31, 2010 at 3:02 pm

All that stuff you listed plus Culatello di Zibello or a good Salame di Felino.

my little apartment February 1, 2010 at 2:27 pm

oh, I want to rub that robiola all over my face. is that wrong?

earlier this month, I had the most delightful pecans soaked in house-made lavender honey to accompany a sharp blue cheese– it was amazing. I can’t wait til you visit Chicago and I can take you to tastings all over the city!!

whitney February 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm

lavender honey soaked pecans!! brilliant. i would like to rub THAT all over MY face. although, that might be a much stickier situation than cheese…

Jenny February 2, 2010 at 9:55 am

What a wonderful sounding bottle of cider – I doubt I’d be able to find it here except via mail order (which I’ll be looking at as soon as I close my browser!).

Thank you for sharing this with us!

Karen R. February 4, 2010 at 7:52 am

Very interesting! I’m familiar with ice wine but had never heard of Ice Cider. Thanks for introducing it! I will have to look out for it!
Karen R.
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