Last Sunday, a wonderful event took place here in Seattle. The Seattle Wine and Food Experience packed the spacious exhibition hall at the Seattle Center putting wine, beer, spirits, food and cider in the spotlight. The proceeds from this marvelous event went to Les Dames d’Escoffier Seattle, a 501c3 non-profit organization comprised of female leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education, advocacy and philanthropy. It’s wonderful to see this incredible organization supported by such strong attendance. The event sold out which undoubtedly put some decent funding toward their cause.
One thing that struck me at the event, was the growing interest in craft ciders amongst American food and booze enthusiasts. With the rise of artisanal products and the ever growing farm-to-table movement here in the United States, this old standard is back in fashion. Drinkers in England and other parts of the world have enjoyed cider for many generations. However, here in the United States, the temptingly tart/sweet beverage didn’t really enjoy the same success. Grain used to brew beer was cheaper and more readily available than the cider apple and the cost was the loss of a great libation. However, after prohibition, cider began to re-gain popularity and today you can find a fine craft cider in almost any bar, grocery store or liquor store. Even well established beer brewers like Stella Artois are making their own apple brew: Cidre. Based on what I saw at the Seattle Wine and Food Experience, larger companies definitely have their hats in the ring, but smaller, craft ciders seem to dominate the arena here in the Pacific Northwest.
Cider can vary in sweetness and be combined with other flavors for fantastic results. Some common flavors added to a good cider are berry, ginger and, of course, the flavor of oak barrels. In many ways cider can be treated the same as wine or beer in that it pairs well with food. Cooking with cider is also a fantastic option for the more adventurous chef and it can replace white wine in many situations. However, before attempting that, you should probably try some of the different cider on the market. Some of the tastiest and notable include Teiton Cider Works, Eaglemount Wine & Cider, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, and Woodchuck Hard Cider. Of course, with hundreds of cider makers worldwide, this list could have easily gone on and on but you get the idea.
Want to try your hand at cooking with cider? Well, you’re in luck. Included below is my recipe for Roasted Pork Loin with an Apple Cider Mustard Sauce. Enjoy!
Roasted Pork Loin with Apple Cider Mustard Sauce
1 center cut pork loin (about 2 lbs – adjust accordingly to fit your needs)
1 Honey Crisp apple, peeled, cored and diced 1/4 inch (whichever kind of apple you like is fine)
1 large yellow onion, diced 1/4 inch
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups dry apple cider
1/4 cup whole grain mustard (stone ground works as well but is stronger)
1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim all the excess fat from the outside of your pork loin and rinse with cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 305 degrees
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown your pork loin on all sides. Move into a roasting dish. Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes (20 minutes per pound) or until the internal temperature reaches about 150 degrees. Allow to rest for a full ten minutes before serving, this will allow time for the internal temperature to reach 160 degrees.
De-glaze skillet with cider and stock. Reduce liquid by half and add apples, mustard, and mustard powder. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the apples are softened. Mount with butter and stir in until completely incorporated. Season with kosher salt to taste.
Here are some great events for cider lovers currently listed through Brown Paper Tickets!
Sunday, March 2nd | A Red Carpet Evening at The Ave – Auburn, Washington The admission fee for this special event includes hor d’oeuvres and your first glass of sparkling wine or cider. Beer and wine are also available for purchase. All proceeds from this event will be distributed to local charities such as the Auburn Food Bank, Auburn Youth Resources, ACAP, and The Auburn YMCA, to name a few.
Saturday, March 15th | SnoValley Tilth St. Paddy’s Day Bash – Carnation, Washington Join SnoValley Tilth for a pint at their second annual St. Paddy’s Day Bash fundraiser at the historic Sno-Valley Senior Center in Carnation.
Sunday, March 16th | Jan’s Big “C” Soiree – Chicago, Illinois Join the good folks at Rootstock Wine Bar for a night of killer food, flowing libations and amazing finds for sale to benefit Jan Hendrickson.
Wednesday, March 19th | Hard Cider Making – Everett, Washington Learn what goes into a bottle of quality hard cider, a rapidly-growing small farm and orchard product niche.
Saturday, April 12th | 1st Annual Hard-Pressed Cider Fest – Hood River, Oregon On April 12th, Hood River County Chamber of Commerce will host a cider lover’s dream when a variety of Northwest cideries are featured at an all-in-one event.
Photo Courtesy of Matt Hine (xmatt)