Just when you think you've drunk everything, along comes Spanish cider to percolate your beverage world.
Disclosure: The wines in this post have been provided as media samples. All opinions are my own.
Pucker up, buttercup! We're headed to Basque country in Spain for some much celebrated and locally drunk Spanish sour ciders known as sidra.
This apple drink is so much a part of the northern Spanish culture, there is even a museum, Museo de la Sidra de Asturias, dedicated to this regional wine.
Much to my embarrassment, I had never heard of or tasted sidra before. So when I popped open a still and sparkling cider from Mayador, I was expecting the sweet, crisp, green apple tart ciders you can find in the US, a la Angry Orchard.
Instead, I got that "we're not in Kansas anymore" feeling, wondering where Toto and our tastebuds had ventured.
Intense, bitter-sour, tart green apple, and little bee sting bite. It had that back of the throat jab you get from some sour beers and dry honey mead.
My follow up thought was, "I don't know WTH to pair with this."
Since I've become best friends with DoorDash during the long California Covid lockdown, I decided to let my dasher do the legwork, while I did the heavy tasting.
Tasting Attempt #1 - Cock-a-doodle Doo!
I usually like to see whether a wine will pair with soy sauce.
No, this doesn't pair with soy sauce. At least for me.
I tried this with a Thai chicken bowl from Rooster & Rice with a ginger soy sauce dip. It accentuated that beesting bitterness a little too much.
I looked over at Toto, and shook my head. "We're not home yet."
Tasting Attempt #2 - Bezos to the Rescue
Next I thought I would try the cider with some actual Spanish food.
Continuing with the theme of me not lifting a finger, I sourced a Spanish charcuterie and bites from Whole Foods, delivered to my doorstep in 2 hours courtesy of Amazon.
Yes to pairing with Manchego cheese. The sour cider really needed the fat to coat the mouth and soften some of that sourness.
With the Spanish chorizo, Manzanilla olives, jamon iberico, and salchichon, it was good, but the fatty Manchego cheese just took me closer to Kansas.
Tasting Attempt #3 - a 5 Star Yelp restaurant
Do you know how rare it is to see any restaurant on Yelp with 5 star reviews? If you do see one, it makes you sit up and perk up (just like these ciders).
Such is Mazra, Mediterranean restaurant just south of San Francisco, that had 5 stars and 686 reviews as of this writing.
But I couldn't bear to leave these ciders all alone and drive all the way to the restaurant. They needed my company!
And just like that, my door dasher whisked a stellar 5 star meal straight to my doorstep. Braised lamb shanks with saffron rice, falafels, 5 bean marinated salad, hummus, and baba ghanoush.
This, THIS was a food and beverage pairing experience. The cider didn't so much cleanse the palate as much as it accentuated each little bite. It complemented the food in a way that I had never experienced with wine made from grapes. It agreed with everything from the meaty, savory, gamey lamb to the tangy, lemony hummus. And that extra sour sensation smoothed into the symphony of Mediterranean flavors.
Spanish sidras are food wines, meant to be enjoyed with bites. According to some, the food is what makes these ciders.
Sidra. Nice to meet ya.
Thank you to Winesellers Ltd for providing these exciting Spanish sidra samples!
Learn more about Ciders of the World
Read more about the big, wide world of ciders from the #worldwinetravel writers:
- A BBQ Party Featuring Spanish, French and British Hard Ciders by Chinese Food & Wine Pairings
- A Crash Course in Hard Ciders by Somm's Table
- Anna’s Ciders and Pier City Cider in Ventura County by Wine Predator ... Gwendolyn Alley
- Bodegas Mayador - A Taste of Asturias Cider by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
- Cider Glazed Rotisserie Chicken and a Sampling of Hard Ciders by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Falling In Love With Cider by Avvinare
- I am Cider Curious by Food Wine Click!
- One Glass, Many Ciders by Children of the Grape
- Pollo Con Ajoy y Limon and Spanish Hard Ciders by Our Good Life
- Put This Basque Beverage on Your Drink List! by Savor the Harvest
- Sidra from Asturias in Northern Spain - Its Culture and Traditions by Crushed Grape Chronicles
- Traditional Spanish Sidra, a Tipsy Trickster, & Tanuki Cider by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
What a brilliant article! I'm so glad you found Kansas! I would not have expected the sidra to pair so well with all those different flavors! Brilliant!
Wendy Klik says
I love all the different pairings that you tried to find the perfect match for this sidra.