Ice Cider’s increasing popularity cannot be denied. From year to year, this 100-percent Quebec delight has earned honours across the globe, and over the past few years, influential restaurants and trendy bars feature it on their menus.
“It’s important to note that our ice ciders now have their own appellation,” explains a pleased Jean-Pierre Potelle, co-owner of Rougemont’s Domaine Cartier-Potelle, and leader of the IGP appellation file at the Association des Producteurs de cidre du Québec.
Appellation and production methods
As of December 2014, Quebec’s Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation approved the Cidre de glace du Québec IGP (protected geographical indication). In order to use the IGP, cider-makers must adhere to a strict specifications book, and be audited by an independent certification organization. Cider must be made from Quebec-grown apples, be pressed between December 1st and March 1st, and use one of two recognized extraction methods (either cryoconcentration or cryoextraction). During cryoconcentration, apples are picked in the fall and then stored in cool environs until they’re pressed. Juice is then kept outside to endure Quebec’s frosty winter weather; this method is the most popular. Using cryoextraction over winter, whole apples are picked then left to freeze after the autumn harvest, or are left to freeze on the tree and then pressed whole. Both of these methods naturally concentrate sugars by separating the juice from water (because water freezes prior to fermentation).
IGP Certification (Protected Geographical Indication)
Certified products will bear the “IGP Cidre de glace du Québec” logo. This appellation is synonymous with authenticity, and is a reference point for local and overseas consumers. It also guarantees apple origin (ensures their traceability), production methods, certifies that no colours or flavours have been added, and lastly, that no artificial freezing has occurred. An independent accreditation committee assesses the quality, particularly its organoleptic properties (aromas, textures and tastes during tasting) prior to their release on the market. Seeing the IGP logo on bottles will help consumers easily find certified Quebec ice ciders!
What to drink ice cider with, and when?
“It’s not just for dessert!” exclaims famed sommelier Véronique Rivest — who likely knows and loves ice cider better than anyone else! For numerous years, Rivest was the spokesperson for the Mondial des cidres de glace (which in 2015 became the Mondial des cidres), so she’s tasted her fair share of this delectable beverage, and paired it with gourmet dishes.
Rivest’s favourite pairing? “It really depends on the occasion, but you don’t need to only serve it with cheese or a dessert. A great idea is serving it as an aperitif with lots of different tasty bites, that way you get to explore how it pairs with different foods,” she advises. One of her favourite suggestions: ice cider and oysters-in-the-shell, served with an apple mignonette. “The oyster’s saltiness and the ice cider’s sweetness — it’s the exact same idea as pairing it with blue cheese. What works is the sweetness and iodine. I’ve also matched a rare rosé ice cider and a scallop-and-fresh- strawberry carpaccio. Cider is also fabulous with fresh, in-season cranberries.”
She adds that ice cider is marvellous with the cinnamon and spices that Moroccan food features. “For example, a chicken tajine with dried apricots instead of prunes. Ice cider also works well with pasta, charcuteries such as pork or rabbit rillettes with dried apricot or cranberries, cheese and fruit canapés — like fresh goat cheese with spiced cooked apple. Often, Quebec ice ciders pair better than sweet wines with those foods, because ice ciders are fresher and have a more distinct acidity,” Rivest summarizes.
Neige Première Cidre de Glace Domaine Neige
$25.00Ice cider375 mlCanada, QuebecSAQ code : 00744367
Note: For vintage products, the vintage in stock may differ from the one displayed.
Reduced prices do not apply to SAQ Dépôt stores unless expressly stated to the contrary.
By Domaine Lafrance
Stir all the ingredients with the ice cubes until they melt. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an apple slice and a few leaves from the rosemary sprig.
Photos: Marie des neiges Magnan