Cider is perhaps not the first alcohol that comes to mind when you think about pairing cheese. However, when paired correctly, cheese and cider can create a wonderful and unique flavour combination. In this article, we look at the best cheese types to pair with each different type of cider.
How to Pair Cheese and Cider:
When deciding on a cheese type for your cider, consider whether you prefer complementing or contrasting flavours. This will vastly impact the cheese types you select. If you decide on contrasting flavours, it is important not to be too bold or abstract, as this may overpower each other and ruin the flavours. However, when considering complementing flavours, a good phrase to use is ‘what grows together goes together’.
When choosing your cheese type, read the description of the cider which defines the flavour profile. This will heavily influence the cheeses you choose to pair with your cider.
Contrasting Cheese and Cider Pairings:
Pear ciders are great when wanting to have a contrasting flavour profile. Words describing pear ciders to be ‘crisp’, ‘sharp’ ‘light’ or ‘sweet’ are great with a goat’s chevre. This is a fresh goat’s milk cheese that is light, refreshing and citrusy, and great to balance out the sweetness from the pear.
In addition, sweet pear ciders match perfectly with mild blue cheese. Blue cheeses have a wonderful creamy rich texture, the fattiness in the cheese is cut through by the slight acidity in the cider. Also, the contrasting sweet cider and salty blue cheese leads to a wonderful balance of flavour, neither becoming too overpowering. Therefore, it is important to choose a mild blue cheese, for example, Fourme d’Ambert or Cashel Blue.
Furthermore, a cider described as being ‘fruity’ or ‘acidic’ is a great pairing for Brie cheese. The mild earthy savoury flavours contrast the fruity cider. The rich buttery texture of the Brie adds a new level of complexity.
Complementing Cheese and Cider Pairings:
Traditionally, UK ciders are best paired with UK cheddars. Falling back to our rule ‘what grows together goes together’, this makes perfect sense. Many UK apples produced to make cider are grown in the Somerset region, similar to where many UK cheddars come from. Sweet, rich and buttery cheddars with a slight bite to them make great pairings for heavy sweet creamy ciders.
Ciders that are very sweet in flavour are perfectly paired with harder, aged cheeses. Spanish apples have a very sweet, caramel-like flavour to them, due to spending large periods ripening in the sun. These types of ciders are ideally matched with cheeses like Manchego, or Gouda, which have a nutty and toffee-like flavour to them, great for finishing off a cider tasting platter.
Ciders described as ‘earthy’ or ‘strong apple flavour’ match perfectly with Camembert. Apples from this region typically have a stronger, sweet and earthy flavour to them, making them a great match to the earthy savoury, strong flavours of the Camembert.
Use these tips as a guide to matching your cheese and ciders. Try the pairings together before serving them to others. It is very easy to tell if different cheeses and ciders pair well together. If they taste great, that is a win!