The Monday afternoon before Christmas I was watching an episode of Ricardo and Friends on Food Network Canada called Ski Trip.
The group of friends enjoyed dessert with a glass of an apple ice cider (apple ice wine) called Neige. It really caught my interest. In the episode, Ricardo visits La Face Cachée de la Pomme, the winery where Neige is made.
The winery makes some ice ciders where the apples are left to freeze on the tree and the process actually cooks the apples. For Neige the apples are pressed into a cider and left to ferment in the cold winter weather of Quebec. It takes a lot more apples and effort than I could have imagined to make just one bottle of the apple ice wine. The process is called Cryoconcentration. There are specific standards that have to be achieved for a cider to be classed as an ice cider.
It just so happened that my husband was in Montreal until December 23 and I asked him to pop by the Quebec store called SAQ to see if he could find a bottle of Neige for us to try on Christmas Eve. He managed to get the last bottle that they had.
On Christmas Eve, after our 7 year old went to bed, Bryan poured us each a glass. We snuggled by the Christmas tree reminiscing about the wonderful Christmases we’ve had together over the past 17 years. It was wonderful.
Of course, you will want to know more about this ice cider. I was expecting the sweetness of an ice wine made from grapes. I am not a fan of ice wine usually.
Neige is different. It has a great apple flavor and a tartness that I did not anticipate. I could see why Chef Ricardo paired this with a Rustic Apple, Pear and Date Pie as it would go beautifully.
If you get the chance to try Neige, I highly recommend it. It is an unusual and delicious beverage to serve with a dessert or to enjoy on a romantic evening by the glowing lights of the Christmas tree or a crackling fire.