Learn how to make Moules au Cidre at home

As the weather cools down and the leaves start to change colour, the transition to autumn is all around us. The French cider harvest is also in full swing, running from September until the first November frosts.

Cider apples are harvested when ripe in the autumn, their juice extracted through careful pressing, then fermented. A single cider may contain over 15 different cider apples to arrive at the correct taste; the job of the apple master is to realise that same taste every season.

Brittany is one of the most famous areas of France for cider production and the tradition goes back thousands of years. At Côte our ‘Cidre Breton’ is called Bollée D’Armorique, which takes its name from Armorica - the ancient name for the land we now know as Brittany, meaning ‘place by the sea’.

Bollée D’Armorique is made from fully ripened Breton apples, including the famous Kermerrien variety, nurtured under the warm Brittany skies; it is a beautiful golden, amber colour and is subtly sparkling in the traditional Breton style.

Mussels are often cooked with cider in Normandy and Brittany, where both ingredients are in plentiful supply.  We have added smoked bacon lardons, crème fraîche and tarragon, to create a rich and delicious sauce. Our Cidre Breton is full-flavoured, crisp and medium dry. With an intriguing oaky taste, it’s the perfect accompaniment to moules au cidre.

 

Moules au Cidre

SERVES 4 AS A STARTER OR 2 AS A MAIN COURSE

1.5kg mussels

100g bacon lardons

1 shallot, chopped

125ml dry Breton cider

75g crème fraîche

30g butter

1 small handful parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

1 Wash the mussels in plenty of cold, running water. Scrape away any barnacles with a short-bladed knife. Pull off all the beards and wash the mussels again. Discard any that are open and do not close when tapped sharply.

2 Melt the butter in a saucepan, add your bacon lardons and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shallots and cook for a further 2 minutes then add the cider and the crème fraîche and bring to the boil.

3 Add the mussels and seasoning. Toss the pan for a few seconds then cover and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes, tossing again from time to time.

4 When you are sure that all the mussels are open, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the freshly chopped parsley, stirring into the sauce.

6 Spoon into four warmed bowls and serve with lots of crusty baguette. Bon appétit!