Cooking with Cider
The more Chef Joe Sparatta of Heritage studied Virginian cuisine, the more he realized how important cider—and apples—were to the state. It was only upon moving to Richmond in 2010, that he started drinking cider himself. “Well, except for Woodchuck, which we all drank when we were younger. And which is just gross,” laughs the accomplished chef of celebrated restaurants Heritage and Southbound. “Cideries have gone the way of wine production now, but they have a long history in the area. It’s incredible how many cideries there were around here, even during Prohibition.” While Sparatta endorses many local makers, the menu that follows uses ciders from Foggy Ridge, where owner Diane Flynt “just does beautiful work.” He adapted a Heritage menu staple to include Foggy Ridge’s Serious Cider: “Our pâté is something people always want, so we change it seasonally. In spring, we’ll do a rhubarb gelée, but here we added a cider-ginger gelée.” As for his versatile mostarda, it complements the pâté, but also makes a delicious statement on cheese and charcuterie plates and is wonderful with a simple pork tenderloin. Sparatta’s bar manager has provided a cider-based cocktail too, all the more reason to abide by that old adage.
Cideries have gone the way of wine production now, but they have a long history in the area. It’s incredible how many cideries there were around here, even during Prohibition.”