Did you know, eating spicy foods may help cool you down? If you think about the world’s hot spots and their cuisines, like Mexico, India, Malaysian, Thailand, Szechwan, and New Orleans, spicy peppers permeate most dishes in those climates.
Why does this happen? Perhaps because super spicy food induces sweating, which may help you feel colder. The other big reason is food borne bacteria are inhibited or killed by spices like garlic, onion, and oregano, which are the best known bacteria killers. Chilies and hot peppers also inhibit bacteria and when combined with the above and ginger, anise seed, lemons and limes, you can be cool and eating hot, healthy foods.
Ann Vogel’s recipe for Chicken Big Mamou, has a lot of those spicy spices, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, and Tabasco. These flavors dominate the dish, that and the pound of butter and tomato sauce. So something cold, sweet and sparkling to balance those dominate flavors and textures. The best wine choice for this very spicy dish is a chilled bottle of Riesling for three good reasons; the dish is Cajun hot, it’s hot and it’s hot.
But since last week’s blog entry had us chatting about the wonders of Riesling and Dungeness crab, I’ll depart from the usual wine match up and move into a chilled bottle of cider.
There is a cider revolution going on. The hard cider industry in the United States is growing rapidly. Sales grew 101 percent in 2013, to more than $128 million, according to the Northwest Agriculture Business Center.
In Washington alone, there are at least 25 cideries on the market. They’re making cider out of apples, pears, and even combinations of other fruits and herbs. Ciders are sweet, dry, still and sparkling.
So, what makes a cider a cider? In North America, there are two types, cider and hard cider. Typically, cider is the sweet unfermented stuff. Hard implies alcohol within. Hard cider is brewed like beer, fermented and bottled without aging. But in Washington State, the Liquor Control Board considers hard cider a fruit wine.
Cider can go from apple to juice to ready to drink in 21 days. Like beer, ciders may get their bubbles from a dose of CO2 or the traditional second fermentation. Apple varieties grown specifically for cider are classified as heirloom, bittersweet and bittersharp.
Usually ciders are a blend of apples, and with Washington being a major producer of apples, sourcing the juice to make cider is as plentiful as wine grapes. Cider apples are prized for their high acids and sugars and intensely flavors, much like grapes.
If you have a hankering to try ciders, a great place to start would be Northwest Cider Association’s second annual Summer Cider Day in Port Townsend on Saturday, August 9 from noon to 5pm. It’s one of the largest cider tasting events in Washington.
Advance ticket prices are $25 and $20 for NWCA members. Tickets are $30 at the door. Price includes admission, 10 tasting tickets, and a souvenir glass. Additional taste tickets are available for purchase.
An partial list of Washington’s Cideries:
Alpenfire Cider, Port Townsend, AlpenfireCider.com
Core Hero Hard Cider. Edmonds, coreherohardcider.com
D’s Wicked Cider, Kennewick, DsWickedCider.com
Dragon’s Head Cider, Vashon, DragonsHeadCider.com
Eaglemount Wine & Cider, Port Townsend, EaglemountWinery.com
Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chimacum, Finnriver.com
Grizzly Ciderworks, Woodinville, GrizzlyCider.com
Irvine’s Vintage Cider Vashon Island, VashonWinery.com
Liberty Ciderworks, Spokane, LibertyCider.com
Nashi Orchards, Vashon Island, nashiorchards.com
Neigel Vintners, East Wenatchee, neigelvintners.com
Schilling Cider Company, Seattle, SchillingCider.com
Seattle Cider Co. Seattle, seattlecidercompany.com
Sixknot Cider, Carlton, SixknotCider.com
Spire Mountain, Olympia, Fishbrewing.com
Snowdrift Cider Co., East Wenatchee, SnowdriftCider.com
Square Mile Cider, SquareMileCider.com
Tieton Cider Works, Tieton, TietonCiderWorks.com
Twilight Cider Works, Mead, twilightciderworks.com
Westcott Bay Cider, San Juan Island, WestcottBayCider.com
Whiskey Barrel Cider, Pullman, WhiskeyBarrelCider.com
Whitewood Cider Co., Olympia, WhitewoodCider.com