Last summer while road-tripping (and, frankly, eating my way) through Portugal and Northern Spain I made countless food and drink discoveries. Like, for instance, it’s never too early for a plate of Serrano ham. That there is a particular joy that comes with sitting down to a lengthy dinner at 10 pm. That sea urchin […]
Last summer while road-tripping (and, frankly, eating my way) through Portugal and Northern Spain I made countless food and drink discoveries. Like, for instance, it’s never too early for a plate of Serrano ham. That there is a particular joy that comes with sitting down to a lengthy dinner at 10 pm. That sea urchin makes everything better. And, while in Asturias, that Spanish cider is pretty darn delicious. Until then, my hard cider knowledge was, I will admit, limited to the Mike’s version. Shameful, I know. So it was a pleasure to discover just what I’d been missing. And just as much a pleasure to see my beloved Spanish ciders on the menu at Hillside in Vinegar Hill. Here, William Fitch, wine director at Hillside and Vinegar Hill House, answers our cider questions. FIORELLA V.
How are Spanish ciders different from American hard ciders?
Spanish ciders in general are not as sweet. They have a savory tang that
simultaneously creates and quenches thirst. American Ciders, and this is
of course an extreme generalization, are fruitier and prettier and, in my
opinion, however lovely to drink on their own, pair less well with a wide
range of foods.
Can you tell me about some of the different varieties of Spanish cider?
The varieties of Spanish cider with which I am familiar are from Asturias
and from the Basque region (hence not really Spanish – it must be
admitted). Sidra from Asturias, Sagardoa from Gipuzkoa. At Hillside, we
have a savory Basque cider that has a very slight effervescence especially
when poured into the glass from a great height, and we have an outright
sparkling Asturian cider made like a Cava which is unusual I believe. It
is quite well balanced and elegant and works well as an aperitif or even a
refreshing finish to the meal.
How do you like to drink them? Paired with something?
The Basque cider from Isastegi pairs well with almost everything, but it
rocks with our Lobster Pot Pie and with our Braciole by Chef Leth. The
Asturian sparkler, the Poma Aurea from Trabanco, is delicious on its own
or with our Little Shem oysters from New Brunswick. It also pairs nicely
with Camembert in my humble opinion.