Hard cider was made to be enjoyed with food -- in early America, its alcohol content rendered it safer to drink than water. Hosting your own tasting? Dan Pucci, cider director at Wassail, a cider restaurant in New York City, offers a few pairing suggestions.
Pair With: Dried Sausage + Hard or Semihard Cheese + Quince Paste
This Spanish-inspired grouping works well with Spanish-style cider. Its acidity balances heavier flavors. Above: summer sausage (1); Firefly Farms Cabra La Mancha (2); membrillo, or quince paste (3).
Pair With: Salty Meats + Soft Cheese + Pickled Beets + Jam
A full-bodied sparkling cider stands up to these strong flavors and creamy textures. Above: coppa (4), De-Glae Sheep Dairy Dew Drop (5), pickled golden beets (6), black-raspberry jam (7).
Pair With: Crackers + Bologna + Herbed Goat Cheese + Pickled Carrots
Herbaceous fare is lovely with the grassy taste of a hops-infused cider. Above: buckwheat crackers (8), bologna (9), Charlottetown Farm aged goat crottin (10), pickled carrots (11).