Wine and cheese, we know. But why not cider and cheese? It’s the same idea, really – fermented fruit. Yet actually, cider might pair even better with the rich, high-fat delicacy because its acid and carbonation cleanse the palate.
You can put that idea to the test this Sunday evening, October 27, when two Sebastopol-area farm-based cider producers will join six local cheesemakers in a Slow Food Russian River tasting event right in the middle of an apple orchard.
It’s appropriate timing, given that it’s apple harvest season now, and October is American Cheese Month.
First, there’s the cider, fermented from 100 percent locally grown heirloom apples, and crafted in wine-centric styles of semidry to bone-dry, fruity to funky, crisp, refreshing, and bright to savory, vinous, and tannic.
Then, there’s the cheeses, each with their own characteristics, influenced by their ages plus their milk varieties such as sheep, goat, and cow.
The cider comes from Devoto Orchards and Tilted Shed Ciderworks, and the event kicks-off with a tour of the Devoto Orchards organic apple farm in Sebastopol. Next is a sit-down, guided pairing at communal tables in the barn, plus a casual introduction to the history of the apple industry in the region and Sonoma County’s rainbow variety of heirloom and traditional cider apples.
Devoto grows 100 types of certified organic apples, for example, and makes its own Old World Spanish style cider.
Tilted Shed Ciderworks, meanwhile, is a small, family-run cider producer in the Russian River Valley that uses only hand-sorted, fresh-pressed local apples.
To nibble alongside, there will be the artisan work of Andre Artisan Cheese, Valley Ford Bleating Heart, Bohemian Creamery, Toluma Farms, Valley Ford Cheese Co., and Weirauch Farm & Creamery.
Please note that guests must be 21 or older to attend this event (please leave the children, and pets, at home). It’s for a good cause, too – proceeds benefit a new SRJC Scholarship by Slow Food Russian River, for students pursuing careers in agriculture.
Details: Cider & Cheese, 6 p.m. on Oct. 27, at Devoto Gardens & Orchards, 655 Gold Ridge Road, Sebastopol. Tickets are $46; or $35 for Slow Food Members, and are available on-line only (no at-door sales). www.brownpapertickets.com/event/470210.
Tip: The cider is fermented, so don’t drink and drive. Instead, be a good apple and reserve your private, chauffeured limo or Town Car from Pure Luxury.