Paul Vander Heide is confident the best meal in Grand Rapids on Sept. 27 will be at Vander Mill.

It will be the second cider dinner held at the company’s Grand Rapids location, 505 Ball Ave. NE, which opened this spring, but Vander Mill’s owner said there have been others at the original Spring Lake location that help highlight two objectives.

Vander Heide said the first objective is to help educate consumers by exploring the various types of cider available. The second is to show cider’s “incredible ability to pair with food,” he said.

This month’s dinner will focus on cuisine derived from Northern France — an area with strong cider connections — with 30 spaces available at $75 per person. The price tag might seem steep to some consumers, but Vander Heide said the dinner is an evening of experiences lasting more than two hours.

“For these dinners, we really focus on matching the food quality with our beverage experience,” he said. “We want to provide guests with an amazing food experience, beverage experience and service experience, all in a casual atmosphere.

“We like to break down the barrier that it needs to be a formal occasion for a true culinary experience.”

The dinner is five courses, with multiple dishes, many served family style. Between courses, Vander Heide and Executive Chef Justin Large break down the history of the dish and cider and why they were paired together.

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