It's cider season for those of us in the Northern hemisphere. On our walk today someone thought they smelled apple pie baking—it was the windfall apples that no one's bothered to pick up. That's what I call an optimistic nose.
Here's another warning: Cider in England means something entirely different from good, crisp cider in America. It's hard cider of course, and it's obviously an acquired taste. I found this out the hard way, when my friend and I bought small cups of freshly brewed cider at Borough Market last fall. We looked at each other and grimaced, then discreetly poured it out.
The Royal Standard of England serves a pear cider that looks as clear and sparkling as champagne. I haven't tasted it—I'm still reeling from my Borough Market experience—but a friend who did approves.
For more about apples—did you know we have the Norman Conquest to thank for apples in England?—and cider and a recipe for a delicious looking Herefordshire Cider Cake, check out Baking for Britain.
I also learned via Radio 4 today that lager has surpassed stout as the most popular beer in England, mainly due to marketing. Apparently you are more sexy if you drink lager.
They didn't mention cider, probably because they didn't want to gross people out over lunch.
In the other hemisphere, chef Anthony has made Croquembouche. And such a heartwarming tale to accompany it, too.