That Time I Went to a Woodchuck Cider Dinner

I’ve already expressed how much I’ve come to love beer, but when it comes to deliciously brewed alcoholic beverages, cider is my first and truest love.  And when it comes to cider, Woodchuck ranks as my most frequently consumed cider.  So when our friend D asked us if we would be interested in attending a Woodchuck Cider dinner at a local(ish) bar and restaurant, my only response was “Do you really even need to ask me that?!”

The event was a four course meal prepared by the restaurant’s executive chef and each course was paired with a sampling of Woodchuck’s ciders.  The chef, or his sous chef, would come out and explain each dish to us and then a representative from Woodchuck would tell us a bit about the cider it was paired with.  I’m pretty familiar with most of Woodchuck’s products so I can’t say I learned a whole lot, but I did have an awesome time.

The night started with a Woodchuck Amber and passed apps of pesto covered crostini topped with prosciutto, parmesan and truffle oil.  Honestly, these were probably my favorite dish of the night.  I ended up eating 4 of them which was probably not my best idea ever since I had 4 more courses and dessert ahead of me.

The first course, our appetizer, was mascarpone ravioli in a pistachio cream sauce paired with Woodchuck Crisp Cider.  The Crisp is actually my favorite of the Woodchuck ciders.  The raviolis were tasty, but this course was probably the dullest of them all.  It wasn’t bad by any means, but it didn’t shine quite as brightly as the other dishes we were served.

The second course was probably my next favorite dish.  It was a salad with sashimi salmon, crostini, brie, apples, and a walnut pesto.  The flavors and textures in this salad just blended together so amazingly.  I wish I’d paid more attention to what was actually in it so I could attempt to recreate it at home.

 From there we moved onto the two entrees.  Yes, two.  The first was Pork Rialto stuffed with spinach, roasted red pepper and goat cheese with a cider reduction.  The second was Lollipop Lamb Chop crusted with walnuts and topped with sun dried cherry glaze.  Both entrees were serves with some of the tastiest risotto I’ve ever had.  I actually ate more of the risotto than the meat since I’m not a huge fan of pork or lamb!  (Plus I was starting to get super full at this point in the meal!)  The entrees were pairs with the Granny Smith Cider and 802 Cider respectively.

The final course was dessert – an intoxicatingly rich chocolate mousse with a candied orange garnish.  This was paired with their Belgian White Cider which was the one cider I’ve never had before.  The mousse was extremely rich to the point that I had to stop eating it despite its deliciousness. 

The food was spectacular.  Despite the fact that they somehow managed to serve a huge number of foods I don’t care much for – lamb, walnuts, pork, pistachios – I left the restaurant more stuffed than a turkey on Thanksgiving day. (go bad food humor!)  I did get pictures of all the food, but the lighting was poor so they don’t look terribly appetizing.  I’ll spare you all my bad photography.

Aside from the food the atmostphere was great.  The table settings were adorable.  The centerpeices were hurricanes filled with winter/ fall decor – cranberries, leaves, pinecones.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more events like this though.  I clearly have so much fun at tasting events!

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