I suppose I shouldn’t say this coming from the West Country but I often forget about cider when I’m thinking about cheese pairings. Not that I don’t enjoy it but there always seem more complex drinks with a wider range of flavours to experiment with.
But last week I was tasting a range of Somerset-based ciders from a producer called The Orchard Pig with cheese and was struck by just how well they went.
Standout matches were their Dry Table Cider with one of my favourite cheeses Gorwydd Caerphilly, Medium Table Cider with Keen’s cheddar (although I thought it would have worked still better with a slightly milder, mellower cheese like Hafod or Lincolnshire Poacher) and most interesting of all a new lighter 4.2% sparkling cider (the others are 6.5%) with Stichelton, an unpasteurised version of Stilton. (I wouldn’t draw the conclusion from that that all light ciders go with blues: Stichelton is exceptionally creamy in texture which worked particularly well with this palate-cleansing style)
The Orchard Pig also has a range of apple juices, one of which - an off-dry blend of Jonagold and Bramley - was absolutely delicious with the Keen’s.