Charcuterie and Cider
July 8, 2013
Last summer in Normandy, France, we were enjoying a picnic and drink cider, and the cider was horrible. I thought it was infected with Bretomycies or something, as it had a sort of barnyard taste.
Well, I recently took another trip to Washington DC, of which I opened up a bottle of cider and was drinking it, and then we started eating our typical picnic food including cured meats, or charcuterie. I went to drink my cider, and it tasted horrible, just like my previous experience in France. Suddenly, a little light went off in my head – when I was drinking that “bad” cider I was drinking in France, I was also eating charcuterie! It wasn’t bad cider – it was a bad pairing!
Now the thing is, charcuterie is good with beer and is probably good with wine, but for some reason, it just brings out some icky flavors in cider. According to Wikipedia, fermented sausage such as salami does contain Lactobacillius, Leuconstoc, and other bacteria. Lactobacillius and Leuconstoc are actually used in red wine making to help raise pH and make wine less harsh. This method is available to cider makers, though most I know don’t really actively attempt it. Lactobacillius is also known for making yogurt, sauerkraut, and is even used to make sour beer. However, it is something added at the beginning of a fermentation, not after things are complete.
Really, I have no idea what is causing the bad pairing. I doubt it is the meat as cider is good with meat. I’m not sure it is the spices, either. I think it is the bacteria used to cure the meat, but I’m not positive. I just know from experience now not to eat dried cured charcuterie with cider.