Our second pairing event saw us collaborating with East Sussex based chocolate makers Rowdy and Fancy's. A specialist small batch producer with great branding and a delicious product made them feel like a good fit. We weren't sure it would work but were pleased as punch when it did.
We'd recommend ordering a box and enjoying them together with friends and family to experience the pleasures of pairing chocolate and cider – it sounds a little crazy, but we hope you discover, as we did, that it works fabulously well!
We will be recorded a live taste-along event on February 15th 2021 - you can watch this below.
We’ll talk you through the pairing, exploring the different combinations as well as sharing how we make the products and the histories of the Cidery and the Chocolate Factory.
How to set up your tasting
The cider is good chilled, though not too cold. We recommend bringing the chocolate to room temperature in good time for the tasting. Lay out the chocolates on a board so that everyone can reach them or prepare squares on a plate for each person. You’ll also want a glass each for tasting the ciders and perhaps a glass of water in case you want to cleanse your palate. If anyone will be driving after the event please don’t swallow the Cider, only use it to taste and dispense in a different container after. You might want to make notes as you go, so a pen and paper might be handy. Don’t forget a bottle opener!
How to do the tasting
We recommend picking a cider and tasting each of the chocolates with it in turn before trying the next one. It’s great fun to explore how the ciders and chocolates each affect how the other tastes. Every now and again you’ll find a striking combination that seems to bring out the best in the cider and the chocolate. In this selection we’ve made sure there are several compatible combinations
The Chocolates from Rowdy’s & Fancy
Our chocolate bars are handmade and hand wrapped in our workshop in Sussex. We are a certified organic company with the Soil Association which means we have a very high standard when it comes to what ingredients we use and we think you can taste the difference! Our chocolate is delicious (we think so anyway), top quality and with our commitment to plastic free packaging there is no compromise.
We make our chocolate bars in small batches and each batch is flavoured by taste. This means that each batch is unique and we are constantly learning and adapting what we use and how we do it. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy making them.
With a passion for chocolate and a love for local, we are always on the lookout for opportunities to try, share and enjoy our new things and teaming up with Bignose and Beardy for a chocolate/cider pairing was a no brainer. We have picked 4 of our favourites for you to enjoy, 1 milk, 1 medium dark and 2 dark.
Sweet Rose 37% cocoa content
The only milk chocolate on this list, our Sweet Rose chocolate blends creamy milk chocolate with Rose oil to create an eating experience that uses all your senses. The floral rose combined with the sweet and creamy chocolate is reminiscent of Turkish Delight and is halfway between a smell and a taste. Milk chocolate has a slightly softer texture than the dark’s and melts on the tongue a tiny bit quicker.
Coffee Cardamom 58% cocoa content
A medium dark chocolate with ground coffee and fragrant cardamom. We freshly grind coffee beans and add them directly to the melted chocolate to lock in the flavour. The cardamom is then added to layer the flavour into this interestingly complex bar. The cocoa content is 58% which means this bar isn’t very dark and has a higher sugar content than the others. This sweetness helps bring out the richness of the coffee and cardamom and creates an even balance of the 3 flavours. This chocolate is dairy free!
Plain Delicious 74% cocoa content
The title speaks for itself! We chose a pure dark chocolate to really showcase the deliciousness of the chocolate as it is. The cocoa comes from a blend of cocoa beans from a wide area which gives this a well rounded and rick cocoa taste.
This chocolate is dairy free!
Chilli Lime 74% cocoa content
Our plain chocolate blended with lime oil and chilli powder. A flavour journey if ever there was one, the fresh lime smell is the first thing you will notice, followed but the rich chocolatey flavour of the bar and lastly, the warmth of the chilli. Spiced chocolate is a consept that has been around since the beginning of chocolate history and it’s a tradition we are happy to continue.
This chocolate is dairy free!
The Ciders from Bignose & Beardy
We have four ciders for you to try: a dry, two mediums and a medium sweet. Those designations can seem quite reductive. There’s actually a lot of different stuff going on between these four examples than the traditional dry/medium/sweet might imply, much as there is more to a wine than whether it is red, white or rose.
Ours is an Eastern Counties or modern style cider using a blend of eating apples and cooking apples. Some of our batches have cider apples too. Our ciders are typically acidic or sharp in style, clean and crisp, lots of rich floral notes, light and refreshing. You’ll get a big hit in the front of your mouth and where we have used cider fruit, a longer finish at the back of your mouth and throat.
Our cider is different from others in that it is very long matured. Other makers will fast ferment with commercial yeasts after chemically killing the natural yeasts. They’ll sometimes add sugar to create a liquor up to 14% ABV. Then they’ll dilute with water or apple juice or other fruit juices to create appealing sweetness that masks the real cider flavours. We don’t do any of that.
Cockhaisy (2018) dry cider 6.8% abv
Pure Eastern Counties, it is light in colour, crystal clear naturally without filtering. It has light floral tones in the nose, pleasing appleskin notes. It provides a sharp acidic hit in the front of your mouth without too much astringency, it’s beautifully crisp, clean and refreshing with light apple fruit flavour and a fairly short finish. Cockhaisy is positively wine like in its presentation. It’s hugely satisfying that this is an entirely unmolested product: from pressing to bottling we have not interfered at all with the natural processes at work. All we did was give it time. The apples come from an old private orchard at Cockhaise Mill Farm. Owned by Roger and Cathy.
Discrace (2018) medium cider 6.9% abv
Our good friend Mick Scrace bought an abandoned orchard of 3000 neglected trees by accident. Through battle with the undergrowth and thinning of dense tangled branches, this fabulous little corner of Sussex is fast coming back into production. His windfall cookers provide the acid tones to all our Eastern Counties style ciders. Blended here with Cox apples from Orchard Farm for a pleasingly smooth green appleyness, softened with mellow spice tones.
Green Man (2018) medium cider 6.5% abv
We took John O Prince, and Spartans from Greenway Farm just down the road and mixed them with Cookers from Mick Scrace’s reclaimed orchard. The result is a light, clean, green appley cider that has softened delightfully with age. This has no cider fruit so has a shorter finish, though its still well balanced and incredibly refreshing. Look out for floral fruity notes.
Bonnie Prince (2018) medium sweet cider 7.5% abv
A feisty batch this. The fermentation went on and on and when the sun shone it blew the lid right off the tank. A mix of John O Prince, Breaburn and Spartan from Greenway Farm at Herstmonceux and cookers from Mick Scrace’ orchard just north of Uckfield. This presents a strong, refreshing crisp green cider with notes of Granny Smith sweet and sharp.