Raison d’Être Natural Cider is a vintage release from Ross on Wye Cider & Perry Co. Out of nearly a hundred ciders they release annually, Raison is their attempt to really distill their entire philosophy down to a single bottle. A beautiful blend of bittersweet Dabinett & Michelin apples, it is fermented through to dryness, wears its oak cask influence well, and is given two years to mature before release as a bottle-conditioned, dry cider.
Technically, you would describe this as a low acid, high tannin, zero sugar cider. When you taste it however, you go on a journey. The CO2 produced by bottle conditioning adds some light acidity, giving a platform for the pure fruitiness of bittersweet apples to shine, and also offering texture to offset the fullsome tannins and smoky influence from the oak. From first sip to the last, the flavour never stops evolving on your palate.
For me, the best way to drink it is to pair it with steak.
The juicy, sweet fat of the steak, alongside a hefty serving of black pepper and honey glazed roasted vegetables provides simply the most luxurious companion to Raison d’Être.
Here’s my recipe. Hope you enjoy.
Albert Johnson, Ross on Wye Cider & Perry
1 tbsp butter
2 sirlioin or rump steaks, your preference
salt & pepper to taste
liberal use of black pepper
sprinkling of honey
1 butternut squash
2 red onion
1 sweet red pepper
2 garlic cloves
50g baby spinach
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Peel, slice and prepare vegetables to your preference. I cut the middle out of my parsnips and have them in long chunks, my butternut squash is cubed, red onion is quartered, and sweet red pepper deseeded and sliced. Place on a baking tray and liberally cover with black pepper and a tiny dash of salt. Place in the oven.
- Take out steaks to rest.
- After 15 minutes, take out, drizzle honey over and move the vegetables around to ensure evenly coated, return to oven for further 15 minutes or until ready. You should be able to easily sink your fork into the squash.
- Wash and slice your mushrooms, fry in a pan with some melted butter and crushed garlic for 10 minutes.
- Melt butter in a pan and sear steaks, with use of salt & pepper to taste to your preference. I recommend a flash cook for a raw steak – 2 to 3 minutes on each side only.
- Plate up and add baby spinach so you can pretend this isn’t total decadence!