Thursday, May 18, 2006

Summer Time and the call goes out for Cider!

There is no question in my mind that some of the best cider makers in North America are located on the eastern seaboard. And if anyone wants to disagree with that statement, it's plain they don't know what the hell they are talking about.

Ciders are not all sweet. The dry ones are an excellent accompaniment to fish dishes, muscles, clams, lobster, and other shellfish. And great with barbecue and fried chicken...and summer soups and salads.

These are some to look for:

1. Farnum Hill (New Hampshire)
Farmhouse, Semi-Dry, Extra Dry, Semi Dry Still, Kingston Black '03, and Sumer Cider are the line of ciders from Farnum Hill. At Farnum Hill, all they make is cider. It's is without question the most elegant series of ciders made, not only in this country, but stands up extremely well in the more elegant company of French, Belgian, and English ciders. These are for the most part, like dry, exotic sparkling wines. This is an elite house, and I am very jealous of whoever had the idea for this place, and very thrilled that I have discovered and had their ciders, and continue to serve them to my friends as well. If you have not tried them, you have missed out on one of the great pleasures in life. Am I gushing too much? It's not possible when it's Farnum Hill.

2. Warwick Valley (New York)
One of the best cider makers in America today. Absolutely fabulous. From Doc's Draft Hard Apple Cider ( great, semi-dry and effervescent refreshment) to the incredibly dry, delicate, and fragrant Doc's Draft Hard Pear Cider, to the tremendous Doc's Framboise, which is a dessert beverage that is on par with any dessert wine out there. The raspberry can be sipped on a long hot day...what a delicious enjoyment. The pear and raspberry are to die for and are absolutely unique! These two ciders rate with the great Belgian ale house, Lindemann's, whose fruit ales are among the best in the world.

3. Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider (New York)
Elizabeth Ryan is among the most famous of the cider world's divas! She's been featured on Martha Stewart and Lifetime television. Her cider is sometimes hard to find, but well, well worth it!

4. Flag Hill Farm (Vermont)
Amanda Hesser has raved about their Hard Cider. But their still and sparkling are also very good. Champagne-esque. Fabulous!

5. Applewood Winery (New York)
Stone Fence Hard Cider is a sweet, hard cider, with a touch of honey. Very tasty and fun!

6. Bellwether Hard Cider (New York)
Delicious hard cider made in the Finger Lakes of New York. Bellwether cider is pale gold in color, medium-bodied, lightly sparkling and dry. It is slightly tangy, only a little yeasty, and it has abundant apple flavor. Delicious!