p1: Cod Accra

My folks headed out on a Caribbean trip a little while back, which gave me the perfect excuse to make the only two Martinique items on my French 44 list. The dessert post should be up pretty quickly.

The Dish

Martinique and Guadeloupe certainly aren’t the first regions we think about when France comes into conversation, their culture still being heavily Caribbean in nature, though French customs do come into play. But it remains that Rum is the productive drink of choice as opposed to wine, with bananas and other uniquely Caribbean food products serving as the base of their economy, truly anything even resembling French ingredients needing to be shipped overseas. “Martiniquan Creole” is the main language, a heavy conflagration of French, Carib, African, English, Portuguese and Spanish, and something traditional French people refuse to try and understand due to its intense differences. Though I hear its syntax and other such things are slowly transverting closer to Standard French.

Both of these islands were originally acquired in 1635, after Columbus’ discovery and passing on (Spain wasn’t too interested in this either place). The French Company of American Islands told two of their men, Jean and Charles (their last names are too long for me to want to bother… though not as long as this little sideswipe, huh), to colonize any of the isles of Guadeloupe, Martinique, or Dominica. They chose the first, apparently due to “Martinique’s inhospitable nature,” yet oddly enough a Mr. Belain d’Esnambuc landed in the same year and claimed Martinique for the French King. Then again, he was driven off his own island of St. Kitts by the British, so he probably didn’t have much choice.

And from there, both islands swapped back and forth between the French and British due to various wars and whatnot. The two were finally traded back and settled as French owned at the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War (though they lost Canada… darn), and here we are. Okay, some more stuff probably happened before and after that, but I’m getting bored of history, food now!

enhanced-buzz-5151-1385795528-5I would have very much enjoyed writing something on the history of Salt Cod or the Fritters known as Accras, or Acra, or Akra, or… whatever, it’s got lots of name that all sound like the same damn thing. But for the life of me I couldn’t find ANYTHING in my books, online, my searches yielded nothing but recipes on the matter. Maybe it’s hard to quantify the proper path that fried batter dough has taken through various cultures, either that or most inland French people are too snooty to ever consider this Caribbean dish important enough to ever affect them enough or be apart of any interesting cultural event/situation.

Which is a shame, no matter the reason, for they are awesome and delicious and crispy and oh god I want to make more right now. But I have lawn work to do soon, so I should finish this up and get to it. Let’s start with the Fish!

A Word On…

Salt Cod:Heavily salted, air dried, this ingredient has held itself as one of the most important in history, at least for Europe, for its ability to keep over winter (and probably year round too) and over travel. I’ve been wanting to play with it for quite a while, but had yet to find the excuse to go to one of the good seafood/meat markets to grab the frozen pine wood box of goodness (frozen too, really? There must really be almost no one buying it if most places that have it need to freeze this as well… I mean I’ve seen videos of it sitting in open-air markets with no problem). Obviously I need to make more sopa verde.20140415_223843

Luckily it’s not that difficult to find outside of the most basic stores and markets (though no luck in Whole Foods or certain Co-ops either, depending). It’s preparing it that comes the trouble. There’s a reason it’s called Salt Cod… it tastes like salt. It practically is salt, with a bit of fish to hold it in. But when you get it out… one has a bundle of firm, nicely chewy cod fish that’s great for cooking in whatever. The task to turning it into this stage is simple, but long, taking at LEAST 24 hours to soak in cold water, which should be changed multiple times. After 24 hours, it should be ready for fritters, since we’ll be cooking it in a separate liquid bath before using, though if using for soups I would suggest lending it out another full day.

As a Minnesotan, I can’t help but be reminded of Lutefisk… only more of a firm texture instead of fish jelly.

What it is:Unlike other fritters, I’ve found the more traditional recipes for this in fact do NOT revolve around just mixing every ingredient together in a large bowl. Instead, a simple batter of flour and liquid (maybe eggs) is made on the side, mixed into the fillings, and then one folds in some heavily beaten egg whites, sorta like making a mousse or soufflé.

Now, there seems to be no real consensus on the use of other fillings; I’ve seen a simplified fritter of purely cod and green onion, and ones loaded with herbs, spices and strong aromatic veggies. I like using the cultural flavors to flesh it out, but I didn’t want to get bogged down in excess, so the question became what do we keep?

The few ingredients I keep seeing used in most fritter and Caribbean recipes are green onions, some scotch bonnets, a big thing of parsley, shallot or garlic, and of course limes. Spices vary, but the main flavor I’ve found in use is Coriander, aka dried Cilantro seeds. It’s so popular some recipes switch out the Parsley for the herb version instead, which I debated doing… but I stuck with both spice and parsley. As always, those making this should make it however they want, but I think the mix I got is pretty darn close to traditional flavors and balance.

Scotch Bonnets:Basically, Habaneros. One of THE staple ingredients in Caribbean cooking, you can find them used in many a recipe. As such I found that, if I were to mix various greens and aromatics and such into the fritters as I did, some habanero was a must; it gives an interesting fruity tart spice that I love with the green onions and other things. I definitely suggest playing with it in some form, at least in the side sauce.

20140417_164301The main note when doing so, though, is to be sparing and handle it carefully. If you haven’t heard the lecture about hot peppers yet, wear a damn pair of gloves. Or, if you can’t find any (I swear I had some, but… disappeared…) do everything possible to avoid touching the peppers directly; some plastic wrap or other item to hold the habanero while you carefully de-seed (some may argue the flavor loss with other peppers, but you really don’t wanna risk it with habanero and hotter level peppers) and slice. Oh, and don’t bite into it directly… ask Alton Brown, this is not a lollipop!

20140417_153620Milk and Water: One of my weirdest quandaries in figuring out the recipe I was to use for my fritters was the debate in using milk or water, for both poaching the fish and as the liquid in the batter. On the one hand, using the fatty milk does seem like quite the French go-to, but then again my main French book reference details a light poaching in a water steeped with bay leaf and other aromatics, also a pretty typical cultural technique and great expression of gentle cookery. Similarly with the batter, I couldn’t quite figure if a French milk enrichment or water purety was the better for structure.

Whatever decision you make is up to you, I guess on any old day I’d just stick with milk and maybe some cream too. But for this I decided to compromise; a typical stock-reminiscent water bath and some creamy milk batter.

Sauce:Well they’re little fried balls of fish dough, can’t eat it without lubrication! From what I can tell, there’s nothing particularly typical so long as it suits the Caribbean theme. Mojos, Jerk Sauce, Papaya coulis-thingy, a bottle of tasty hot sauce, whatever; though I’d say anything that’s nicely tart, a bit spicy, and not really “heavy” would work best. I decided to stick with the sauce recipe attached to the French 44’s Acras link, “Dog Sauce.” The ingredients and flavors matched the ones in my fritter, so it worked.

Cod Accra
½ lb Salt Cod
2 Bay leaves
3 Garlic Cloves
Salt and Pepper
2 Shallots
½ or 1 small Habanero
3 Green Onions
2 Tb Parsley or Cilantro
Juice and Zest of 1 Lime
1 tsp Coriander Spice
3 Eggs
1 cup Flour
¼-3/4 cup milk

Directions

  1. Soak Salt Cod in Cold Water at least 24 hours in advance, changing it a minimum 2-3 times throughout.20140415_224117
  2. Drain and lightly simmer in water bath with Bay Leaves, crushed Garlic, Salt and Peppercorns until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.20140417_151624
  3. Remove, shred with fork and/or fingers.20140417_160711
  4. Finely chop Shallots, Habanero, Green Onion, and Parsley, mixing with cooked cod alongside the Lime (juice+zest), Coriander, and seasonings.
  5. Separate the Egg Yolks from the Whites, reserving both. Mix two of the yolks with Flour and enough milk to make a THICK Batter.20140419_164015
  6. Heat oil for frying up to 375F, or 385-390F if using a smaller pot (it’ll drop fast anyways).
  7. While heating, mix the cod in with the batter.20140419_164339
  8. Beat all the egg whites, electric works easiest, to soft peaks. Fold into the fritter batter.20140419_170456
  9. Drop a few large spoonfuls of batter into the oil at a time, cooking until deep brown and crispy, 5-10 minutes depending. Turn halfway through cooking.
  10. Move to paper towels to drain oil, transfer to serving platter and serve alongside Dog Sauce (recipe follows) or other tart and/or spicy condiment.20140419_172246

Dog Sauce
2 Green Onions20140417_165201
1 Clove Garlic
1 Habinero
2 Tb Parsely
Zest and Juice of 1 Lime
¼ cup Water
2 Tb Olive Oil
Salt n Pepper

Directions

  1. Finely chop Onions, Garlic, Habinero, and Parsley, mixing with the Lime Zest.
  2. Boil water, pour over the veggies, mixing around and letting steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Add Lime Juice, Oil, and seasoning. Mix and serve, or chill overnight.20140417_170041

The Verdict

Surprisingly eggy, but in a good way; it wasn’t like the rubbery or other overcooked/otherwise too much egg flavor. It was noted, but small, adding a different flavor and texture than I normally think about with fried foods; a French flavor. It’s weird to say, but it’s actually my favorite aspect of the whole thing.

Though it’s a close 1st place, with the gloriously strong and complex Caribbean flavors of onion, scotch bonnet, and cilantro accompanying the tender and firm cod fish. It was glorious, and once again another dish to come in and make me debate it as my favorite so far. Then you add the tart and poignant “sauce” and we go to happy land.

20140419_173617The only downside is that I was unable to get that perfect crispy texture on all of them, or all over the ones I did for that matter. Always one of the issues when having to fry in a small pot while conserving oil… and trying to change batches quickly to cook them all (was serving them for a party, so had to make a whole platter of the fritters). Wasn’t able to hit the high oil temperature all the time sadly. Well, just take it as a lesson; there are consequences to not being able to hold that high temperature.

Not that they still didn’t taste amazing.20140419_173902

Primary Pairing Vinho Verde

Since the “region” of Acras’ origin is quite a ways off from mainland France, I think I’m definitely free enough to use non-French wines in the pairing. In particular, I like the idea of going off Spain and Portugal, what with their large historical trade importance and history with Salt Cod. That said, I just had to grab something from either Vinho Verde(in the North of Portugal) or Txacolina(an interesting set of regions in northern Spain). Though neither is known for any sweetness to battle the hot habinero notes, the razor-sharp and intense acidity of a high quality Vinho Verde more than makes up for it, dealing with both the fat while dancing with the spicy notes in an interesting fashion. With a naturally lower body, simple and singular flavors, and a bare and bright little fizz of effervescence (bringing a nice bit of tannin to go with the light fish texture), Vinho Verde has become well known as one of the perfect food wines. It’s a shame we rarely if ever get any of their Reds in (though I did see a rose at a tasting recently).

20140419_170655My Bottle:2011 Broadbent Vinho Verde

Most of the vinho verde one finds in liquor stores is really cheap, somewhat generic crap version that hasn’t helped to build it any reputation in the US. If one goes to any decent wine store, though, you should be able to find at least one really good quality. The great thing is even though good ones, like this Broadbent, clock around only $11-$14, depending (sota like the Greek Retsina, which also wouldn’t be too bad a pairing with accras).

Broadbent is just what I was craving; limey, strong and acidic wine that goes down easy, an almost gulpable affair to drink with the crispy, eggy cod fritters. I didn’t have to think about much, there was fun little frizz, and a bare bitterness also quite characteristic of the region, all the aspects contrasting the hot pepper-oniony-lime flavor in the food. Either way, it made me happy.

20140419_172859Secondary Pairing – Rum Cocktail

Cuz it’s the Caribbean! Need I say more?

Okay fine. Rum, besides being the distilled beverage of the islands, has a natural sweetness which counters the hot qualities nicely. And the caramelly notes in the darker and/or spiced rums goes well with the fried brown crust. Mix it with some ginger ale, coconut, pineapple, or other typical mixers, and you calm it down for easier pairing while increasing the “Caribbean feel” of the meal. Oh, don’t forget the lime!

 

p1: Aligot

The Dish

With a name reminiscent of an Urban Farm Animal, Aligot originated around 1120(supposedly) in Aubrac Monasteries, which often hosted many Pilgrims passing through on their long journeys; especially come winter. As they knocked on the large wooden doors, the pilgrims would ask the monks for “l’aliquod,” or “Something.”

The practicing monks, looking to conceive from inexpensive ingredients to properly feed and warm them, melted and combined Bread with the Tomme cheese which they made by hand. This simple dish soon became firmly engrained with the Monastery and the region, popularized by the pilgrims who would travel and introduce the dish afar. In the 19th century, the simple bread was replaced with the newly discovered Potato, and a deliciously smooth, rich, and cheesy creation was born. Now much improved, the tradition of Aligot fully cemented itself into Auvergne’s culinary practices, along with catapulting itself up as a French Classic.

enhanced-buzz-8672-1385764619-6Nowadays, though many would argue that it’s served in only one capacity, Aligot can contribute any part of a meal. Some people serve it on the side, some serve it from a booth at a market, and sometimes it’s used as the main meal in social gatherings.

The dish itself, as one would expect, is quite simple. Potatoes are boiled, mashed, and recooked with some form of milk or cream, butter, and a healthy proportion of French cheese, usually a form of Tomme. As it’s stirred, it turns into one of two forms: a silky, ribbony smooth, fondue-like dip of melted potato, or a firm, stretchy cheese-based starch dish. As a kickback to the origins, it is traditionally served with Toasted Bread, and can often be accompanied by a local Sausage on the sideSAMSUNG.

Doesn’t it just sound like the one perfect item in my list of 44 to thus make during the Superbowl? I certainly agreed! Which is why I’m happy to have had an excuse to try it out so early!

A Word On…

Potatoes: Any all-purpose kind of potato can be used (some even use waxy reds), some recipes even apply Yellows and Golds. But typically, various Russets; I wish we could have the selection they do in France and Britain, it’s quite interesting the different qualities their brown potatoes can have. Sadly, it’s a no-go here, so no use even getting into it.

Cheese: There are three classic cheeses in this dish. The main two are Tomme d’Auvergne and Tomme de Laguiole, two wash-rinded grey mold cheeses with soft and meltable funky insides, with a somewhat secondarily used cheese in Cantal. While the first two are quite a bitch, if not almost impossible to find outside of the highly specialized (or some uniquely random) cheese shops, Cantal is more available.
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When it comes to Substitutions, which are quite likely to be needed, Cantal is also the easiest; it’s basically just a Mild, French Cheddar with a washed rind. White cheddar is very suitable in its place.

The Tommes are a bit more tricky in finding a “proper” replacement; from my research, they’re both NuttySAMSUNG, with the Auvergne also containing noted Herby and Mushroomy notes. From what I could tell, the closest French cheese in comparison really is another Tomme, specifically the Tomme de Savoie (others ARE notably different), which I acquired. Though I almost think I found an even better cheese in the Italian Quadrello di Bufala (Buffalo Milk for the win!).
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Of course, other people have found a bevy of other cheese to use instead, some of my favorite ideas being: Lancashire, Langres, Mont Enebro, Raclette, and last of all Gruyere, which is probably one of the simplest and farthest from original flavors but very easily acquired and approachable for beginners (plus there are many different kinds when you get into it, so one can expand in a fun way). I’ve seen others use Mozzarella and other cheeses, but that’s just getting really cheap and far away from what this recipe IS.SAMSUNG

When it comes down to the final decision, I love the idea and suggest using a Blend of two of one of three styles. A Cantal, or similarly mild and developed Cheddar; a Tomme or other washed rind; or, an interesting shared trait among some of the other replacements, a kind of Creamy Goat Cheese, preferably with some ageing and/or development. All in all, depends on what flavors one prefers and can get their hands on.

Milk: This seems to differ a lot; some recipes use all whole milk, some use Crème Fraiche, and some heavy cream; then there’s some that didn’t have anything at all besides butter and cheese. I would originally say Crème Fraiche is traditional, but I’m not fully sure, and either way I didn’t have the time I wanted to make it myself so I can’t properly test. Heavy Cream initially stood out too, but for once I actually felt like the simple flavors of warmed milk felt more right than simply fatty cream. At the moment, I’d say it all depends on what you want to do, or what particular online recipe you want to follow. I ultimately decided to just use the rest of some leftover Cream we had in the fridge mixed with Milk.

Boiling: practically all recipes call for boiling the potatoes, but I found one that steamed them instead. Intrigued, I thought I’d try it myself for fun as a more delicate, softer way to cook the tubers. And it seems I may have been right. But either method is fine really; I just like the idea of the second (think I’ll use it a bit more often for other interesting things!).

Proportions and Consistency: So, I’ve seen Aligots with no milk and huge amounts of butter, just cheese, large amounts of cream with only half-ish the amount of cheese, more median percentages of each, etc. With that, as mentioned in Milk, it’s hard to tell not only what’s traditional, but which variations should be used to get that perfect, unique “Aligot consistency.” If I were to haphazard a guess as to the most classic, I’d say it’d be using smaller amounts of thick, flavor crème fraiche and thus loading up on EITHER Butter (for smooth and drippy) or Cheese (for extremely stretchy).

Aligot
2 lbs Russet Potatoes, Peeled
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 cup Whole Milk
¼ cup Heavy Cream
4 Tb (1/2 stick) Butter, cubed and Chilled
6-8oz Tomme de Savoie
6-8oz Cantal
Salt n Pepper
Parsley Leaves

DirectionsSAMSUNG

  1. Cut Potatoes into even size pieces, Steam cook with a sprinkle of Salt until soft throughout, 20-25 minutes.SAMSUNG
  2. While potatoes are steaming, combine Milk, Cream, and Garlic in a pan on Low/Warm heat to warm up and infuse the aromatic flavors.SAMSUNG
  3. Similarly, take your chosen Cheeses and Shred Finely, taking care to not include any of the firm, funky rind (you can save that for yourself 😉 ). Reserve.SAMSUNG
  4. Transfer cooked potatoes to a strainer to ensure any vestiges of water drain out; supposedly one should cover with a towel to absorb the steam. Not sure if it’s really useful, but doesn’t hurt.SAMSUNG
  5. Mash or Rice potatoes back into the warm (and drained) cooking pot.
  6. Fold in chilled Butter, melting.SAMSUNG
  7. Move to Medium-low heat, stir in warmed milk mixture until smooth.SAMSUNG
  8. Add in shredded cheese, first a small amount and then more as it melts, continuing to stir, heat, and mix until all of it’s added and the potato-cheese mixture changes texture, turning Smooth and Stringy.SAMSUNG
  9. Transfer to serving container, garnishing with sprinkles of Chopped Parsley and Ground Pepper.SAMSUNG
  10. Serve immediately alongside Grilled Baguette and possibly Sausage if desired.

The Verdict

Best. Cheesy Potatoes. Ever. Just so smooth, and soft, with what ended up a delicate and gentle undertone of the uniquely French cheeses. And it was just so interesting eating the fluffy white starch on top of crispy, charred baguette, but with its notable departure between mashed potatoes and dip it worked. Not to mention it’s nice having the textural difference, even if Atkins is likely to hunt me down in the coming weeks… I’m scared…

Sadly, I don’t feel I was able to reproduce this dish properly; or at least, not in the version that I wanted. It was never able to get to that almost fondue-like velvety nature which I was looking for. Which, as mentioned earlier, may have been due to improper dairy proportions; I definitely wish I had more cheese to add in, looking back at recipes showed much higher amounts of the aged curds than what I had on hand.

I’m starting to consider that part of my issue in trying to find that perfectly svelt, ribbony melted consistency might also have lied in the fact that I chose to RICE my potatoes over simply Mashing them. Though normally it helps in creating smooth, evenly textured mashed potatoes, it also “fluffs them up,” adding air or something to increase the volume and change the consistency. For this purpose, it may have been better to leave them dense and compacted; as one is supposed to “cook” it in the pot for a while, constantly stirring with the cheese and milk, it would have probably smoothed out anyways. But, that’s something to note for another time; I’m still quite happy with the other traditional version of Aligot that I ended up with.

Plus, the leftovers are AMAZING! I swear, this is the only kind of mashed potato that I’ve ever enjoyed eating while cold (well except for my Mom’s Cheesy Potatoes, but that’s sorta different). But what’s truly remarkable is that the delicate, subtle cheese flavors come out even more noticeably after it’s sat for a bit. I still have yet to reheat it traditionally to enjoy the rest.

Speaking of which, it’d probably be great to use for making Croquettes much in the same way as these.

Primary Pairing – Jura Blanc

Though it’s traditionally served with Red Wine from the Auvergne region (which I have absolutely no clue as to where to start looking to find), and despite the fun cliché of pairing alongside the similarly sounding Aligoté from Burgundy, after seeing this recipe I just couldn’t help but to crave something from Jura! For those as yet unaware, as it’s truly not the most known of regions unless one really gets into French regions, the small area is located just East of Burgundy, nestled into the mountain ranges and plains between it and Switzerland. It’s nowhere near the Massif Central (where Auvergne’s located), but they’re both in the Alps so why the heck not?
What really makes Jura wine fun is the subtle veining of oxidation which the region’s grown up applying, creating very unique aromas and flavor palettes. Not to mention the use of purely unique regional grapes like Jacquere, a relative to Gewurztraminer, and the super light red Poulsard, which makes the perfect pairing when eating Aligot with a rich, tenderly chewy sausage.

I don’t know where the hell Buzzfeed got the idea to pair this dish (which had no mention of sausage in their post) with a Cabernet Sauv. Please, I beg people, do NOT attempt this. Truly pairing Wine and Cheese is a difficult and complex process, and almost always exclusive to White wine. The oft un-thought aspects of saltiness (which EVER cheese is exposed to, sometimes more noticeably than others) and the cheese’s unique rich, heavy, almost chalky fat composition will just play havoc with multiple compounds and flavor elements in wine. This is especially true with Tannins (and many other things, but for simple purposes we’ll stick with just this), interacting to turn flavors bitter and exemplify the more unpleasant mouthfeels of the wine and starchy-moldy cheese constructs. At the end of the day, Cab Sauv is one of the WORST wines to pair with a cheese dish unless you know what you’re doing (there ARE some hard, firm aged cheeses that hold less of these dangerous qualities and can meld well with the bigger flavors).

Now, of course, cooking and melting cheeses in dishes like this can severely reduce their overall impact, but it’s something that should still be considered. Especially since this dish has absolutely no firm, meaty texture to justify the need for a red wine; it’s mashed potatoes on bread, I mean seriously. Having a wine with fresh, gripping acidity from a cool climate like Jura is perfect for cutting through any vestiges of cream and fat. Not to mention bringing in the light twist of lightly salty oxidation to match and bring out the nutty French flavors of the cheese. Finally, I like to think the overall simple dish is a great accompaniment to let the rare wine shine fully. Which is what you really want; they aren’t found at most stores, and they’re a bit higher on the spending list; minimum $25-ish (which is what I had to get).

For a more affordable wine in the same spirit, Abymes de Savoie (a region close by, noticeably different but still fresh, light, and able to pair nicely) is notably more affordable.

My Bottle: DomaSAMSUNGine de l’Aigle a Deux Tetes, Cotes du Jura “En Griffez” (Chardonnay)

I’m… not really much of a chardonnay person; maybe it’s from the whole global popularization, various “wine lovers” who only drink Chardonnay and Cabernet, etc. But this one, this one I’ve liked since I first smelled it in class over half a year ago. It’s just so…. “Jura.”

The very first thing one notices is the familiar notes of the toasted, creamy barrel, or maybe it’s the buttery notes of malolactic fermentation… but different. There’s more of the raw nuts,SAMSUNG maybe some of that popcorn kernels, and of course that unique yeastiness and oxidation reminiscent of sherry, but much lighter. Despite the distinct presence, which again goes so nicely with the particular cheesy notes, the wine is still full and bright with the fresh fruit and mineral qualities of un-barreled styles. It’s such a great mouthful to enjoy along with the grilled bread and full, creamy starch. Not to mention the light oxidation, and possible skin contact, could help it to stand up to the texture of the traditional meat.
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Oh, btw, this bottle comes with a wax covering. Fair warning. It’s quite messy to open; I do normally have a trick for it, basically just ignore the “cutting” phase and stick the corkscrew straight in, twisting and carefully pull. Most Wax tops just pop off in an almost-clean circle. This one decided it didn’t want to do that, the wax felt a little more firm and crisp than others. So be prepared to clean up.
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Secondary Pairing – Normandy or other French Cider

Mmmm, so yum, I love using a nice dry or barely off-dry cider in place of whites, SAMSUNGespecially with meals that contain those sorta-iffy, unsure qualities (bit of salty, sweet, spicy, very sour, or whatever). They’re fresh, obviously fruity; like having the traditionally accompanying fruit plate directly in the glass. And the fun little sparkle from the carbonation to bring its fullness up to match the body and any light textures.

I actually had a Pear Cider at the superbowl party too, so I was able to test out the pairing myself! It definitely came through; I really love that light musky, or possible yeasty, flavors from the bittersweet fruit used in conjunction with the subtly unctuous Tomme de Savoie. Plus it feels more suitable to slam down during the festivities as opposed to a nice wine.