Autumn is apple season, and our love for this crisp, sweet-tart fruit knows no bounds. From apple picking, to apple butter, to out-of-the-box apple recipes, many fall favorites utilize apples as a core ingredient. And while it’s common knowledge that cheese and apples are a match made in heaven, don’t forget that a tall glass of cider is another fruity variation that you can enjoy with your cheese during the harvest season!
While wine is undoubtedly the classic go-to in any cheese course, cider is an unsung pairing hero. Its carbonated kick works overtime by adding freshness to even the most creamy and decadent of cheeses, while also acting as a palate cleanser in between bites. Sascha Inram of Murray’s Cheese in New York City praised this pairing by saying, “Rich cheeses love any carbonation present in cider… Slicing through butterfat and salt, cider’s acidity elevates the nuanced and complex flavors in cheese.” Though the intensities and flavorings of cider can range widely, it is generally considered to be a lighter, fruitier option that naturally complements the earthiness of many cheeses.
When deciding which cheeses and cider styles you’d like to pair together, keep these helpful guidelines in mind:
- “If it grows together, it goes together.” More often than not, two products from the same region will match each other in taste, making the pairing simple and streamlined.
- Combining similar flavors can also be an easy pairing trick if you’re intimidated by contrasting intensities. For example, dry ciders have a more acidic flavor, so choose a similarly fresh and slightly tangy cheese, such as chevre. It will automatically be a winning combination!
- Opposites often do attract, though. For example, strong cheeses like extra-pungent blues taste delicious alongside something sweet, such as an ice cider. This unique hard cider is made from the highly concentrated juices of shriveled apples that are left out during the winter months.
While European countries like France, Spain, and England are known for their lovely ciders, there are many fantastic cideries in the United States, too. In fact, cider consumption in American has spiked noticeably in recent years, perhaps in part because of dietary trends that steer clear of certain ingredients found in beer. Whatever the reason, America’s cider renaissance has opened up a new range of perfect pairing duos. Rich cheeses like Camembert and Brie are crying out for a much-needed rustic twist, and taking a swig of refreshing apple cider always does the trick.Photo Credit: Featured image courtesy of leeners.com