Growing up in the Hudson Valley, my family’s fall ritual was to go to Meadow Brook Farms and pick apples. In those days you were even allowed to climb the trees. It was always a good time, followed by binging on apple cider and cider donuts.
Now as an adult, sweet things like donuts and cider are not my thing. So, it makes sense that up until now I have shied away from indulging in hard ciders.
That all changed recently, when I was invited to a “soiree full of crisp, refreshing hard cider and delicious eats” at Angry Orchard. The evening started off with a tour of the 100-year old orchard and a ceremonial picking of cider apples with head cider maker, Ryan Burk and apple grower, Jeff Crist. After that, we moved deep into the orchards for a five-course dinner prepared by Chef Greg Baxtrom, owner/operator of Olmstead in Brooklyn, paired with Angry Orchard Ciders.
You know that dining al fresco, in the middle of an orchard, at a one long, beautiful decorated table with 40 other guests, anything would taste good, but the cider and food were outstanding on their own.
For the first course, we were treated to lightly fried rings of delicata squash, duck liver mousse and Island Creek Oysters. The paired cider was Angry Orchard’s Foranna which was unfiltered, meaning the cider going from fermentation straight to the bottle. It had a hazy golden-orange color and was crispy and dry. It not only looked beautiful but captured the apples at their finest.Chinese take-out containers held the secret to our second course-- Kale Crab Rangoons which we enjoyed immensely.
A Som Tum Salad made with green papaya “noodles” was also delicious. The cider, one of my favorites, was Angry Orchard’s Rose. Not as dry as the Foranna but not too sweet either.
My favorite “EATS” of the evening was a carrot crêpe with littleneck clams and sunflowers. The combination, which you may think sounds a bit odd, was amazing! The crêpe was thin, light, delicious and yes, bright orange. The tastes and textures were flavorful and refreshing. To compliment the dish, we drank Angry Orchard’s Edu, a unique cider made from bittersweet and sharp apples, an homage to traditional Spanish style cider making.
For the main course you could indulged in grilled heritage pork collar, or eggplant, with escarole, haricots verts and gribiche. Both choices were served with their flagship Crisp Apple Cider. Crisp with a real apple flavor, it was a little sweet for me, but I can see why it is so popular.
Who could resist homemade apple cobbler and lemon verbena ice cream with caramelized white chocolate for dessert? Not me, even though my stomach was screaming for mercy. I did resist the last cider of the evening--the not yet released Albany Post, as I had reached my limit and had to drive home. It also gives me an excuse to go back soon, now that I’ve been converted to a cider drinker.
Angry Orchards is in Walden and is the number-one selling cider in the United States. They have a core collection distributed throughout the country, as well as a large selection of small batches sold exclusively at the Cidery.
For more information about their selection of ciders, the orchard and upcoming events head to
2241 Albany Post Rd
Walden, New York