There are two main ways to look at pairings of cheese and cider: you can either pick your cheese and then select a cider based on it or start with a cider and then find the ideal cheese. The easiest way to find pairings would be to ask a cheese or cider expert, but if that fails, there are some general guidelines for pairing based on each item.
Suggestions Based On Ciders
If you are starting off with a cider that has a noticeable amount of residual sugar, then you want to opt for a cheese that is slightly sweet, such as alpine-style or aged Gouda. You will also find that ciders which are medium-sweet or sweet will go well with certain blue cheeses. If your cider has prickly carbonation, put it with a creamy cheeses, such as triple cream or semi-soft to soft cheese. Tart ciders work well with acidic cheeses, such as tangy cheddar or young goat cheese. Finally, tannic ciders are able to withstand stronger, aged cheeses that include concentrated flavor, including aged cheddar or aged cheese made from sheep’s milk.
Suggestions Based On Cheeses
When you choose to start with the cheese and work your way to the cider, these suggestions can help. Blue cheeses tend to do best with either a sweet cider or an ice one to make a salty-sweet pairing. If you have an aged sheep’s milk cheese, try to cut through the butterfat and protein with tannic ciders, such as those made from Ashemead’s Kernal or Reine de Pomme apples. In reality, though, some aged sheep’s milk cheeses will work with many different types of cider. Finally, if you are starting off with a washed rind cheese, then try to find a Basque cider, as this will make the perfect combination for those who enjoy a bit of funk. The cheese is pungent and complex while the cider will be earthy and tart, making the perfect combination. Remember that as with pairing other items with cheese, experimentation is key and any combination works as long as you enjoy it.