In the midst of NYC Cider Week, the Astor Center hosted Applepalooza, where attendees could sample a large assortment of ciders produced in regions from New York to France. On Sunday, October 27th, dozens of cider lovers poured into the venue from 2:00-5:00PM to enjoy the quintessential fall beverage in addition to apple-themed hors d’oeuvres. The atmosphere was classy and relaxed; perfect for dates or small groups.
From 2:00-3:00PM, Applepalooza VIPs were treated to a cider and cheese pairing with popular shops and restaurants Murray’s Cheese, Hearth, and Terroir. The rest of us snacked on the endless supply of housemade apple fritters, applewood smoked sausage and apple skewers, and mini grilled cheese sandwiches with apple chutney. Perhaps best of all, there was a DIY mini candied apple station, where you could submerse your apple in as much caramel, chocolate, coconut, etc. as desired! While I skipped the sausage, I could not get enough of the fritters and grilled cheese. Seriously, I quickly lost track of how many I popped into my mouth. As you can probably imagine, the food was delectable, and I was pleasantly surprised at the surplus.
Before this afternoon, my sparkling cider experience had been pretty limited. Partial to the Martinelli’s non-alcoholic variety, I didn’t know what I would think of anything “fancier.” However, I really enjoyed several that I sampled, including Redfield’s West County Cider, Aspall English Dry Cider, and Cidre du St. Bernard, Maley (from Massachusetts, England, and Italy, respectively). It was nice that reps from the wineries and distilleries were on-hand to explain the origins and nuances of each unique beverage. Full-size bottles were available on site that day for purchase, and while I left empty-handed, I came away from the day with a lengthy list of ciders I would love to drink in the future.
Cider tastings took place in a designated area, while an adjacent room housed the food and additional complimentary cocktails and liquors. However much I loved many ciders and everything I ate, my taste buds did not take kindly to the cocktails. Despite how pretty they looked, and how much I desperately wanted to like them, I am not a brandy drinker. My friend verified that the cocktails and apple brandies were tasty, though. No surprise there.
I detected a handful of foreign accents among the crowd and was surprised to think that Cider Week was big enough for Europeans (even Australians, perhaps?) to plan a vacation around. I had never heard of it until a friend mentioned a different cider event she was attending earlier in the week. Now that I am in the know, I will keep an eye out for these festivities in 2014!
By: Emily Giove