Post 390, it certainly felt like Autumn, as the Apples & Cider dinner brought to mind some of the best elements of the season.
Roughly every month or so, Post 390's Executive Chef Nick Deutmeyer and his culinary team hosts a special Farm to Post dinner and menu that spotlights "some of New England’s finest farmers, producers, vineyards, brewers, and fishermen and focuses on ingredients that are sourced locally and produced sustainably." I've been to a couple of these events in the past and always enjoyed them, savoring excellent food and drink.
Last week, Executive Chef Nick Deutmeyer created a superb dinner, spotlighting apples and cider, in collaboration with Kimball Fruit Farm, a third-generation family run farm owned and operated by Carl and Marie Hills in Pepperell. I was invited to attend this dinner as a media guest. I'll note that you'll be able to order the dishes that were at this dinner throughout the month of October, and a bit into November, and I strongly recommend that you visit Post 390 to experience these tasty and creative dishes.
In 1969, the family had to sell the land to a group of investors though they continued to lease the land to continue running the farm. Carl (Harold's son) and Marie Hills bought the 200-acre property back in 1999 and Carl used some legal actions to protect 176 acres so no one will ever be able to build on the property. They currently grow over 50 different types of apples, as well as a variety of other fruits and veggies. Most of their business is in wholesale, which they want to get out of, though they also sell their produce at 10 Farmers' Markets. The farm used to produce apple cider, but hadn't for the last 18 years, until Carl and Marie recently decided to make it once again. Rather than pasteurization, they are using an UV process, so as to not affect the taste of the cider.
Servers also passed around Pork & Apple Sausage Tartelettes, made with blue cheese, dried fig, frisee, and an apple cider vinaigrette. Though I thought the pastry shell was a bit too dry, the filling was quite tasty, with the pungent blue cheese making a nice accompaniment to the apple and pork flavors.
Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider from Lebanon, New Hampshire. At 7.4% ABV, this cider was only mildly sweet with a tart undertone and plenty of delicious apple flavors. It went well with out first course, and certainly is a food friendly cider. I've enjoyed a number of Farnum ciders before, and they have an excellent portfolio.
Shacksbury Lost and Found, from Vergennes, Vermont. For some more background info on Shacksbury and some of their other ciders, check out a prior post of mine. At 6.9% ABV, this cider is from the 2016 harvest, and has a very earthy aroma, though on the palate you'll find it is crisp and light, with more subtle and complex apple notes. It is that more wild nose that certainly brings to mind wild game, like pigeon.
Eden Specialty Ciders Ezekiel, a single varietal cider made in Newport, Vermont, from Kingston Black apples of the Windfall Orchard. Kingston Black, a British cider variety, is considered one of the most bitter of the cider apples, with a bitter/tart profile. It is also said to be a "...one of the few apples that has sufficient sugar, acid and tannin to make a balanced single variety cider." This cider was also aged about about 12 months in an oak barrel and only 100 cases were produced. For more background on Eden, please check out my prior article,
With an 8% ABV, this cider possessed an alluring aroma and on the palate it was a stunner. With a full body, it was elegant and crisp, complex and subtle, intriguing and delicious. It was dry, well-balanced and had a lengthy, satisfying finish, pairing very well with the porchetta. Frankly, it was one of the best ciders I've tasted in quite some time. This would be perfect for Thanksgiving too. My highest recommendation.