Sonoma County Cider and Cheese Showcase 2013

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Sonoma County Cider and Cheese Showcase 2013

Cider and cheese. It may not seem like a traditional pairing, perhaps, but only because most of us hadn't thought of it before. Yet actually, cider pairs very well with rich, high-fat foods like cheese and meat because its acid and carbonation cleanse the palate.

And it tastes really good, too. Think beer, but with less bitterness.

Given that it's apple harvest season now, and October is American Cheese Month, the good people of Devoto Orchards and Tilted Shed Ciderworks have joined together with Slow Food Russian River to present a guided pairing of local artisanal ciders and cheese. The party takes place Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 starting at 6 p.m.

The two Sebastopol-area farm-based cider producers will join six local cheese makers to show off their delicious sippy stuff, and how versatile it can be. Fermented from 100 percent locally grown heirloom apples, the ciders come in diverse styles that make one think of wine: semidry to bone-dry, fruity to funky, crisp, refreshing, and bright to savory, vinous, and tannic.

Cheeses have equal personality, handcrafted in a similarly wide range of styles, and influenced by their ages plus their milk varieties such as sheep, goat, and cow.

The day begins with a tour of the Devoto Orchards organic apple farm in Sebastopol, then follows with a sit-down pairing at communal tables in the handsome barn. It will be a delicious opportunity to learn about the history of the apple industry in the region, marvel at the rainbow variety of heirloom and traditional cider apples, then taste and toast to the flavors of fall.

Variety, indeed. Devoto grows 100 types of certified organic apples, plus cut flowers and wine grapes. Last year, the ranch produced its first small batch of ciders fermented from the farm's Gravenstein apples, made in Old World Spanish style. This year, they will introduce three more farmstead blends.

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. The resulting beverages are pure, with no concentrate or artificial ingredients, and handcrafted in old-school traditional cider making methods.

For the pairings, attendees will nibble 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).

Find more information about Things to Do in Sonoma County.


Carey Sweet