An Autumnal Bounty
When Rose and I entered the small back room of The Bedford Cheese Shop in Gramercy, we didn’t know what we were in for. As the other three couples shuffled in, we each sat down in one of eight plastic chairs surrounding an enormous, beautiful oak table. In front of all of us were our own personal charcuterie boards topped with four different kinds of cheeses. Further from arm’s reach were six different wine glasses, of which the first three were filled with mysterious pale brown liquids of different shades and opacities. Christine and Jeff, our teachers for the night, greeted us. Jeff, an enthusiastic and aggressively honest epicurean, dazzled us with his sweet potato cocktail (the first of the brown liquids). It was incredible. If you ever have a chance to add sweet potato to a cocktail, you probably should.
Almost immediately after our first sip, our ears were bombarded with hard-to-believe historical facts (workers used to be paid in cider?) and semi-interesting properties of apples turning into alcohol. While Rose and I were definitely expecting more of an “all you can eat” celebration of cider and cheese, our instructors had something different planned. They had carefully chosen particular cheeses to taste with particular ciders. Their passion for their craft was compelling, and brought out the academic side of me. Though I wasn’t expecting to learn as much about cider as I now know, I’m glad that I did. Turns out, real cider isn’t bubbly and sweet like the commercial bottles would have you believe. Real cider is dry and crisp, similar to white wine but far more fruity. Real cider doesn’t always have carbonation, and real cider isn’t chock full of sugar. Who knew!