Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Fri May 20 2016

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  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | May 20, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Tasting Ice Cider in Monteregie, Quebec

    Tasting Ice Cider in Monteregie, Quebec

    PHOTO: La Face Cachee de la Pomme orchard. (photo by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates)

    I’m a big fan of the sweet and smooth ice wine that Canada is famous for. To me, ice wine is the ultimate dessert wine, you don’t really need anything else to top off your meal with a sweet ending. But about an hour outside of Montreal, in Monteregie, Quebec, I discovered that there is also such a thing as ice cider. And not the kind that is basically apple juice.

    Rolling up into La Face Cachee de la Pomme (The hidden side of the apple) cidrerie, I was greeted by apple orchards covered with rosy apples. Some varieties, like Fuji and Gala, stay on the trees until January, so that the cold and wind whip the insides into a concentrated taste. The frozen apples are picked when it's about 15 degrees below zero and the insides have been dehydrated and all that's left is nectar. Aging ice cider is stored in large barrels, similar to wine barrels.

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    La Face Cachee is a pioneer in ice cider and produces 10 different varieties. The founding president of La Face Cachee, Francois Pouliot, ditched his film video career where he worked with musicians like Celine Dion, to develop groundbreaking ice ciders. The ciders or apple ice wines, as they are sometimes called, range from 8-18 percent alcohol and must meet strict standards to qualify as ice ciders.

    Inside the tasting room, illustrations show the different flavors such as cheese, pear, apricot and cinnamon, that apple pairs well with. According to Francois, the best pairing for ice cider is firm cheese.

    We tasted a dizzying range of ice ciders and the sweet notes do offset firm cheese very well, particularly goat cheese and firm cheddar. La Face Cachee ciders have been featured everywhere from El Bulli to presidential receptions. The cider even makes an appearance in that quirky, green apple-laced, Quebec green sangria that appears at several restaurants throughout the region. Neige Premiere is the most popular and award-winning, created from a sweetly acidic blend of Mcintosh and Spartan apples. This was my favorite as well; it tasted like a lighter version of apple brandy.

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    When I asked him to explain the significance of ice ciders, Francois summed it up with this: “It’s the best of our culture in a bottle.” Indeed, after a trip to the La Face Cachee de la Pomme shop, I was inspired to ditch my strict carry on rule and stock up on a few bottles of ice cider to take home. You can visit La Face Cachee for a self-guided tour or sign up for a guided tour and tastings.

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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