June 3-8 is Cider Week in Minnesota. It is the week all things cider are celebrated at the various cider houses and restaurants throughout the state. In MN, there are 15 cider producers. Here at France 44, we carry 8 of them! In addition to the local ciders, we have a large variety of ciders from other parts of the country and around the world.
There are a lot of popular misconceptions about cider. Many people think of it as a high sugar, stomach upsetting beverage. Though those do exist, most cider tastes more like wine. This makes sense because cider and wine are both fermented fruit products (not brewed.) Cider can be sweet, but is often dry. Cider makers change the tastes by blending different apple varieties. Additional fruit juices, honey, and even hops are added to some ciders to add a different variety of flavor profiles.
Cider is the largest growing area in alcohol production the US is currently seeing. Often, cider has less sugar and carbohydrates than beer, it has lower alcohol content than wine, and it is naturally gluten free. These facts make it very attractive to a lot of people and they are moving towards cider as their preferred drink.
Our resident Cheese Monger, Sam Schonberg, recently was invited to the National Cheese Monger Invitational and paired his assigned cheese, Montgomery Cheddar, with Milk & Honey Heirloom cider and that was a component of his second place win. This is an example of the diversity of cider.
Many people on our staff are well versed in the viders we carry. Don’t hesitate to stop in and ask them for recommendations!
To celebrate MN Cider Week, we will have limited edition Cider Baskets including cider from all of our MN cider makers. Stop in to get one and try a variety from Number 12, Keepsake, Milner Heritage, Sweetland Orchard, Four Daughters, Thor’s, Milk & Honey, and Sociable!