Cider & Cheese
Hard cider is among the drinks that pair well with most cheese. Although in colonial times it was New England’s favorite beverage, cider was pushed into to the “sometimes I drink it in the fall if I’m in Vermont and the leaves are pretty and there’s a fresh snap to the air” category. This category also includes: wearing a plaid wool sweater that matches plaid wool socks, eating Macintosh apples, and, very specifically from my college time at Middlebury, eating a parmesan bagel with veggie cream cheese with a side of cinnamon sugar donut from Middlebury Bagel in Middlebury, VT.
However, luckily for us, cider is on the long list of foods that are having a resurgence, hopefully moving it to the “let’s drink this everyday” category. So, since we’re seeing a lot of cool ciders around now, like at our complimentary Friday tasting at the shop (5-7PM), let’s get down to some specific cheese pairings, even though as I said before, you’re good with pretty much everything. I’m going to skip cheddar this time because I know you know that apple and cheddar are simpatico.
Ascutney Mountain – Since we were just discussing Vermont, let’s stay in the Green Mountain State with the firm cow’s milk cheese Ascutney Mountain! It has a beautiful butter yellow paste and a sweet, nutty flavor. This cheese oscillates between being mouth tinglingly sharp and more mellow and smooth. In any of its forms, however, a sweet and full or funky and dry cider would pair well.
Ogleshield – I’m completely head over heels for our current wheel of Ogleshield. It is a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese from England with a blush pink rind that tastes savory like chicken broth and smells sweet like fresh milk. I love to eat it solo, but it also melts well, so if you’re looking to make a grilled cheese to go along with a cider Ogleshield would be a good choice. Add some mustard and thinly sliced apple to the sandwich for an apple on apple punch.
Gubbeen – Now, we’re getting a touch softer and funkier with Gubben from Schull, Ireland. It is earthy and tangy with a hint of straw, and I want an apple-y apple cider with this cheese, one that tastes like you’ve bitten into the juiciest apple. The fruit, I think, will marry well with its pleasant earthiness.
Humboldt Fog – Sometimes it’s hard to pair a beverage with goat’s milk cheese because the tanginess from the cheese can make the drink weird, or the drink can make the cheese seem too acidic. Cider to the rescue! Humboldt Fog is one of our best selling goat’s milk cheeses and it plays very well with the sweetness of cider. A bubbly cider will also help clear your palate of the rich cheese, so after a sip, you’re ready for your next bite. Cider, cheese, cinder, cheese, sip, bite, sip, bite. It’s a wonderful pattern.
So come by this Friday and try some cider with your favorite cheese!
For the love of cheese and cider, of course,