There’s a new baby foeder at our favorite Buck's County orchard, and her name is Mela (that’s Italian for apple). “Foeder” is a Dutch word to describe a large wooden barrel, which is exactly what it is. In this case, a barrel used to age hard cider, imbuing it with the flavors of the wood to enhance flavor, color, and aroma.
For the uninitiated, hard cider is not sweet like it’s “soft” cider counterpart. It is not beer, but it is fermented. By definition, it is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented juice with average alcohol of between 4-6 percent.
Manoff’s latest venture, the M2 Cidery is producing delicious hard cider and when you talk to owners Amy and Gary, it becomes quickly apparent that this is a labor of love. The heart and soul of their crafted cider come through in a variety of delightful options.
At last night’s mother/daughter tasting, we opted for a 7 series sample of Winesap, Comfort, Stayman, Comfort With a Twist, Goldrush, Hopped, and Pear Ginger. They were all delicious and nuanced, but the three we ended up taking home with us were: Stayman, Comfort With A Twist, and Pear Ginger.
The Stayman, described as robust is precisely that. It is crisp and tastes of the steeped, wine-like juice the variety is known for. Comfort With A Twist, blended with homemade cider syrup, has hints of caramel for a perfect balance of fresh autumn apple and candied mellowness. The Pear Ginger has a hint of sweetness, but is not at all cloying. Just a whisper of floral pear essence that cuts through the acidity of the apple.
Of course, all this cider sampling inspired Stephanie’s inner mixologist and she started to dream and talk of all the holiday cocktails that could be created with Manoff’s ciders. Millie just drank it all in with that ever-present twinkle in her eye and a nostalgic mention of the many tastings of her youth, the days of Napa Valley trips and the life of wines and spirits my father made a career of.
For me, being in the cidery, learning more about what Amy and Gary do, and admiring the livelihood they’ve made with their hands close to the soil on this beautiful piece of land in Bucks County, was just about as close to heaven as it gets.