Pairings in Paso: Bristols Hard Apple Cider and Steamed Mussels

New Picture (13)By Jennifer Knoll

Transitioning from summer to fall is bittersweet. We still have the warm sunny days but the nights are growing cooler with dusk coming quicker than ever.  On days when I can’t decide between red, pink or white I go for the next logical choice, hard cider!

Did you know there are actually two Paso Robles hard cider producers?

One is the quite well known Bristols Cider, part of Lone Madrone Winery. They make their traditional Bristols cider which is made from various local apples, fermented and aged in a combination of retired wine and bourbon barrels along with stainless steel and their new smaller production Pirate Series. All named after mercenary sea rovers; Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, Black Bart and Calico Jack, the distinct styles and personalities of each clearly reflect their name sakes.

The other local cider is the modest up and coming label  Scar of the Sea which is hand crafted by young wine maker Mike Guigni.

To kick off fall on a positive note, here is a real ’wow’ factor dish that pairs well with hard cider. It will definitely impress and is  economical, uncomplicated and quick. 

Bristols Steamed Mussels

2lbs musselsNew Picture (12)
2 shallots, sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 link linguica sausage, finely diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bottles Bristols Tradition Cider, 1 for cooking and 1 for drinking
Parsley to garnish
Warm crusty bread

In large pan or pot add olive oil and cook linguica until crisp. Add shallots and garlic. Stir often so they do not burn. Add 1 bottle Bristols. Let alcohol cook out, about 10 minutes. Add mussels. Cover with lid until mussels open up, about 5-8 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open (trust me, you don’t want those) Serve in large bowl with crusty bread. Devour with an ice cold bottle of Bristols Hard Apple Cider.

Jennifer Knoll is a lifelong resident of Paso Robles. Growing up in the wine business and being surrounded by farmers, she developed her serious fetish for wine and food.  She is the Assistant Tasting Room Manager at Tablas Creek Vineyard. Please get permission before reproducing recipe.