“It was the perfect union of fall food and festivity: five courses, five ciders, and live music at a James Bay bistro on a rainy November evening.
On the 16th, As part of their Wednesday Beer & Wine Dinner series, Sips Artisan Bistro hosted a five-course dinner with pairings from the Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse portfolio. Chef Genevieve Laplante and team wowed everyone; not only with her thoughtful local menu, but also with their ability to roll out close to 40 plates at once from a bachelor-pad sized kitchen.
Everyone was greeted at the door with Pomona Spritzers (dessert cider punch) poured by Sea Cider Wholesale Liaison Tessa Ruttan. I nabbed a seat with Ruttan and her partner, apple aficionado Jonathan Harvey, who quickly brought me up to speed on the basics of the cider-making tradition.
First course was a Cortes Island Sea Angel oyster on the half shell with cider gelée and a sprig of Miner’s lettuce. Sea Cider’s Kings & Spies––more like an apple prosecco than a traditional cider as we know it––was the well-matched companion.
Curried Kabocha squash soup with hazelnut brown butter came next; with that, a generous pour of the New England pre-Prohibition style Pippins, an effervescent, acidic and somewhat sweet cider reminiscent of the pioneer days.
Following the soup, grilled apple and Blossom’s Blue cheese toasts with green tomato chutney arrived at the table. Along with it came Wild English, an ultra-dry, wild-yeast fermented cider made from organic Kingston Black and Yarlington Mill apples.
I purposely held back on drink seconds when I saw the Rumrunner queued up for the main course. This award winner is aged for a year in Kentucky bourbon casks cured with rum. A crispy confit duck leg, scented with star anise and orange, was presented on Laplante’s Gramama’s sticky and sweet baked beans. I thought it was the finest pairing of the night, my justification for a Rumrunner top-up.
Dessert was an artful plate of two cocoa-rolled chocolate truffles, a brandy snap with fresh cream, and two triangular quince jellies. The Pomona dessert cider was created by freezing and slowly fermenting crabapple juice, resulting in a rich and long sweet flavour. A fine finale for a lovely feast.
- By Deanna Ladret
Sea Cider website
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