Sassy Cider. It sounds like something akin to an alcopop, a new range of cider aimed at young women, or maybe a drag queen name.
But in truth, it should read Le Cidre Sassy, because this little range comes from Maison Sassy in Normandy – an area known for it’s Calvados. Sassy takes us back to the roots of that spirit with cider. This is cider with a past, an elegant, softly sweet cider created using winemaking methods, and created to emulate styles of wine.
Alongside a taster of their range, Chef Ashwani from Asha’s worked with Altham’s butchers to create a bespoke menu featuring guinea fowl. The game has a gentle flavour, similar to chicken, able to work with the spices at Chef’s disposal, and the cider. Mr GFB and I attending the dinner, full of curiosity.
Our welcome drink, and the one to accompany our starter, was a Sassy Rose Negroni. A classic gin Negroni cocktail, topped up with Sassy Cidre Rose – a naturally pink cider, made using an American crab apple which is naturally pink on the inside, and gives it a delicate pink hue. The cocktail was delightfully punchy, the negroni softened by the cider, which sits lightly at 3%, but you were still very aware that this is a cocktail that contains three spirits topped with a little bit more booze.
The accompanying Keema parcel featured the guinea fowl delicately spiced and packed into a little samosa style parcel, topped with a little beetroot. The only disappointing element? There were only two to a plate – a grumble voiced good naturedly, as they were distinctly moreish.
Moving onto our second course, meant us moving onto our second cider. The Sassy Pear again is light in alcohol at 2.5%, and brings something a little softer and rounder to the table. Forget classic perries, or even Babycham, this is a soft, round gently sweet pear cider, and Chef Ashwani paired it with Afghani Guinea Fowl Tikka, with plum and raisin relish and a crisp circle of dehydrated beetroot. The tikke had that classic gentle charring which worked well with the soft sweetness of the cider, and the deeper sweet acidity of the chutney, and again had us all cleaning our plates.
All too soon, our penultimate course and cider pairing arrived. Dum Ka Guinea Fowl, served with naan and/or rice, and paired with Sassy Apple Cider.
The curry was an unusual one using chirongi – something a little akin to an almond – olive oil and yogurt, giving it a distinctly creamy, nutty flavour. Their classic cider is a little higher in ABV than the Rose or the Pear, coming in at 5.2%, giving it a very gentle dryness, which made it far more my cup of tea – or glass of cider. It gently cut through the creaminess of the curry, and emphasised the nuttiness of the chirongi, making us almost sad to move onto dessert.
I mean, it was so pretty! TheMishti Dhoi Mess was paired with the Sassy Rose Cider, and was made up of a rose cider jaggery, a sweet yogurt, brown sugar, meringue, and raspberry. Fresh fruit sat alongside a dried raspberry leather, light crispy meringue and sweet yoghurt. The Sassy Rose Cider emphasised the berry flavours, and light acidity of the yoghurt.
The night was a delicious discovery of flavours, and though you may have missed out on an evening of Sassy Cider, they have more events in the pipeline, including something a little beer-led with ShinDigger.