Why you should be Pairing Cider With Cheese and tips for matching different varieties of cider with cheese.
Cider drinking is often associated with long hot afternoons in pub beer gardens, but just because our hopes of a barbecue summer have long gone up in smoke for another year, there’s no reason to put your scrumpy drinking on the back burner this winter. There’s a long tradition of pairing cider with cheese and many good reasons to consider drinking it in place of wine.
Why are craft cider and cheese naturally a great pairing?
Well, when combined, they form a flavour powerhouse of complex earthy aromas and flavours.
Rich cheeses love any carbonation present in cider—it helps cut through the creaminess of the cheese, and refresh your palate for the next bite. Slicing through butterfat and salt, cider’s acidity elevates the nuanced and complex flavours in cheese. (Sascha Inram, Cheese expert)
Cider can indeed be used to heighten characteristics that it shares with certain cheeses, or the pairing can serve to highlight the subtle contrasts between the two.
RECOMMENDED CHEESE & CIDER PAIRINGS
Ultimately it comes down to having fun and trying to match as many different cheeses to ciders a possible because every cheese is different. Wine and cider expert Fiona Beckett has her say below:
Matching artisan cheese is a tricky enterprise because every cheese is different and many ciders are too depending whether they’re bottled or in cask but I think if you stuck to these broad styles you should enjoy the results.
The combination of perry and goats cheese and sweeter ciders with blue cheeses was particularly successful. With milder pasteurised cheeses you’ll find you don’t need such strong, characterful ciders. (Fiona Beckett)
Medium To Medium Dry Ciders with Cheddar
A full-bodied Cheddar needs a slightly fuller, richer-tasting cider. Try for example a Welsh cider from Apple County (the Vilberie) in Monmouthshire – and the slightly tarter award winning Harry’s single variety Dabinett.
Rind Cheeses with Aged Farmhouse Ciders
This combination is a funk-lovers dream. Somerset ciders such as Perry’s farm pressed Barn Owl cider with naturally occurring yeast for a tart, earthy characteristic that works wonderfully with the complex, pungent rind character of the cheese.
In fact cider goes fantastically well with Camembert (cuts through the fat) which is a cheese that can cause a few problems for wine.
Dry Ciders or Perry with Goat Cheeses
Choose tannic ciders like to cut through the protein and butterfat. Hogan’s Dry Bottled Cider is a deep gold, slightly sparkling, dry cider with a fruity aroma of traditional bitter sweet apple with spice and peaty overtones that would match perfectly with goats Cheese.
Fiona Beckett advises, “Perry is often compared to a white wine in its effect on food and so it proved. You can just as easily pair a perry with goats cheese as a sauvignon blanc.”
We would recommend the award winning real Perry from Welsh cider producers Hallets. It is made with Perry pears picked from a single orchard in the rolling countryside near Monmouth; a rare treat for the discerning lovers of this delicate drink.
Sweeter Cider with Blue Cheese
Finally, if you’re feeling blue, pick a sweeter cider. Sweeter eastern counties made ciders such Kentish Pip Skylark is popping with big notes of fresh Kentish dessert apples,would make a delightful salty-sweet pairing with blue cheeses.
Finally don’t worry too much about pairings; keep it simple and experiment a little. Try pairing locally made cheese and cider, or look out for limited-release offerings and pair seasonally.
Of course, cider and cheese are such great partners that simply grabbing a bottle of your favourite cider and a wedge of your favourite cheese may prove to be the best pairing of them all!
Thanks to Fiona Beckett’s great article on pairing cider with cheese for inspiration.