New Year's Pairing

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New Year's Pairing: Cider + Goat Cheese

For New Year’s Eve, or any celebration really, sparkling wine and a piece of triple cream cheese is a great way to go. Poppin’ bottles is always festive, and the triple cream is the perfect luscious accompaniment to the bubbles. But if you want to try something different to ring in 2018, or, gasp!, you don’t like sparkling wine, I’m rooting for cider and cheese this year. You still get to have fun with bubbles but with a delicious foundation of apple! Cider goes excellently with cheeses, just like Champagne or Prosecco, so if you still want a triple cream cheese in your life, cider will happily play along. While any cider will do, I have one in mind from the Swiss Cidrerie du Vulcain. The one we have in the shop is dry with a tart apple flavor and delicate, bright bubbles. Since it isn’t too strong, it will pair with numerous cheeses, but what I really want is ash-ripened goat cheese, my current favorites being Valençay and Tomme de Chèvre Cendré. They have a rich cheesecake texture and a tangy, green grassy flavor with a slight peppery edge to the rind. As a bonus, they are also beautiful with a thin, dark grey rind outlining the snowy white interior. Tomme de Chèvre Cendré is a neat round wheel, while Valençay has an unusual shape - and a story to go with it.

The legend goes that Napoleon, marching through France after his disastrous campaign in Egypt, stopped in a town where it was traditional to make goat cheese in the shape of a pyramid. When the villagers offered Napoleon the triangular cheese, he was reminded of his failures in Egypt and he furiously drew out his sword, lopping off the top of the goat cheese. Mon dieu! To this day, goat cheese from the area is made in the shape of a beheaded pyramid. I love telling this story wherever I bring Valençay because it is so dramatic! Perfect for New Year’s Eve with a glass of cider in hand.

For the love of cheese and 2018,