Among other things, chef Josh Stockton is known for charcuterie – paté, head cheese, confit, and more. These are like the wines of the meat world. Originally the production of these foods were motivated by the need to preserve meat without refrigeration, but today the preservation techniques of charcuterie are valued in their own right, for the flavors they impart.
It’s the same with grape juice and it’s the same with apple juice. Wine and cider are simply farmed juices preserved with antique methods.
Pairing Food with Drink
One way to arrive at a good pairing is to memorize rules. White wine with fish, red wine with meat, Bordeaux with lamb, etc. But it’s more interesting and empowering to examine the principles from which these so-called rules derive. For example, it is established as fact that Muscadet pairs with raw oysters, coq au vin with Burgundy, smoked fish with Riesling, tapas with dry sherry, and on and on. But the principle that unifies these numerous prescriptive rules is this: food and drink of a common origin tend to pair well.
And this makes sense. These foods and beverages are the result of many generations of selection, both natural and artificial. Their existence could only be perpetuated as far as they could have managed to appeal to local markets. In a world without refrigerators and trains, farm-to-table was the only option.
Now look at a map of traditional charcuterie-producing regions. Draw a line around those that produce cooked, pork-based terrines, paté, rillettes, head cheeses, liverwurst, and hams. Southern England, Normandy, Flanders, Alsace, Bavaria, and Switzerland. Ask, what are the traditional locally preserved fruit juices? Here is where the temperature limits of grape growing favor the production of sparkling wine, and here is where pear and apple trees are ideally situated.
Also, hogs and cattle love to eat apples.
The Manoir de Montreuil is an old domaine that produces cider and calvados. The apples grown here are old heirloom varieties planted on standard rootstock, so they do not require systemic pesticides and sprays. The juice ferments spontaneously and is unfiltered and unpasteurized, resulting in a remarkably vivid sensations of apple harvest time in the country. This is not a sweetened cider. If it leaves any impression of sweetness on the palate these are due to complex unfermented polysaccharides that are a native quality of these apples.
Short Name: French Cider
Full Name: Manoir de Montreuil Cambremer Cidre Pays d’Auge
Producer: Michele Giard – Patrice Giard
Geography: France, Normandy
Varieties: Domaine, Bedan, Fagotier, St. Philbert, Frequin Rouge, Rimbault, Petit Jaune and Blanc Sur
Description: Nutmeg, sage, hazelnuts, apple butter, with a very lofty, light texture – like drinking meringue made of apple juice.
Comparables: Cider, Prosecco, Champagne
Pairings: Charcuterie! Most especially charcuterie using cooked pork. Include any prepared mustard, horseradish, pickles, cheeses and butter.