Every time I go into a restaurant or a store and see our products listed in the ingredients or displayed for sale I get a little tingle. It reminds me that we are making products that businesses trust, that customers seek out, and that look at home just about wherever.
That’s why McCutcheon’s Blog is featuring a new article category: McCutcheon’s Around Town! We will seek out the local Maryland businesses that incorporate our products into their services or products of their own. From the leftover apple pumice we produce from cider pressing, to restaurants featuring our products in their recipes, to retailers selling our products, you will get to know them all here. To kick off this exciting new subject, we visited the Tasting Room in downtown Frederick.
The Tasting Room
If you are unfamiliar with the Tasting Room, you have been missing out. Featuring the decor, food, and drink of a modern wine-bar, the Tasting Room crafts locally inspired, high-quality dishes that pair seamlessly with their superb selection of wines. Set on the corner of Market Street and Church Street, the restaurant offers an unparalled view of downtown with its floor-to-ceiling windows, and intimate dining room.
Chef Jaime Hernandez and bartenders at the tasting room have developed two great recipes featuring our Cloudy Apple Cider: a Cider Braised Duroc Pork Belly and an Apple Pie “Moonshine” cocktail infusion.
The “moonshine” is like drinking pure apple pie. It is apple-y, but not overwhelmingly sweet which makes it go down all the easier. Served in a mason jar with a cherry on top it brings to mind the images of good country folks sitting on their porches drinking their home-brews. The “moonshine” is not technically a moonshine but rather an infused cocktail. The cider is cooked down and then infused with high-proof liquor, in this case Everclear, and a holiday spice blend (cinnamon, cloves, allspice). It is then chilled, put on ice, and sprinkled with the Bar Keep apple bitters.
According to the Jarret Walsh, manager of the Tasting Room, the Apple Pie “Moonshine” was intended to be a seasonal drink only. But it quickly became their most popular cocktail and has remained a Tasting Room staple ever since.
If you are like me, then you would agree that there is little better in the world than pork. My mouth begins to water at the mention of pork sandwiches, pork roast, pork tenderloin, and now I can add braised pork belly to that list.
The Tasting Room’s braised pork belly combines the sweetness of the cider and the spice of cloves and star anise with the rich flavor of the pork belly. For those of you who are not foodies, pork belly is the same cut of meat that is often cured or smoked to make bacon. In this preparation the meat is braised in our apple cider, white wine, and a blend of spices. It is then cut to portion and seared to make it crispy and succulent. They serve it two ways: as an entrée with a frisee salad and toast with herbed-goat cheese topped with a sunny-side up egg; or as appetizer with apple cooked in the braising liquid.
That first bite of the pork belly, with the braising liquid soaking into the silky meat was amazing. I was cautious that I wouldn’t be a fan of pork belly because it can often be fatty. But the Tasting Room prepared it beautifully–it literally melts in your mouth. Paired with the apples and the the braising liquid (that I would drink if I could) the flavors are layered, subtle, and heart-warming.
The Tasting Room Restaurant is located at 101. N. Market St in historic downtown Frederick MD. For more information visit their website or call at 240-379-7772.
(thank you everyone at the Tasting Room for sharing with us your creations!)