Match of the week
Westcombe cheddar and apple pie and Blenheim Superb dessert cider
Last week we had one of our periodic Cheese Schools - an event where we explore the best artisanal British cheeses and pair different drinks with them. A regular feature is a beer vs wine ‘smackdown’ but I sneaked in this amazing Blenheim Superb dessert cider* from Once Upon a Tree with the pud.
It’s quite different from other ciders you’ve come across - more like a dessert wine or even an ice wine - luscious, sweet and appley. It seemed to me the perfect match for the Westcombe cheddar and apple pie that Source Food Cafe had cooked up as the final leg of our 5 course cheesy feast. And it trumped the opposition - a Domaine Durban Muscat-de-Beaumes-de-Venise dessert wine and Ninkasi sparkling apple-flavoured beer from the Wild Beer Co, brilliant though both those drinks were.
The other pairings, if you're interested, were:
Wild Beer Co’s Epic Saison and Domaine Begude ‘L’Etoile’ chardonnay from Limoux with Gorwydd Caerphilly croquettes with roast onion mayo (the Chardonnay won)
Colston Bassett Stilton arancini with an oak-aged old ale Modus Operandi and a Cava Brut reserva (the Modus Operandi won but I confess I preferred the Cava)
Ragstone (goats’ cheese) tart with Bliss - a beer aromatised with roasted apricots - and Mahi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (thumbs up to the Mahi though I rather liked the Bliss)
Comté Tartiflette with Scarlet Fever red ale and Domaine Belluard Gringet ‘Les Alps’ (the Gringet - just - but it is the obvious terroir-based match.)
I wouldn’t say the wines outperformed the beers because it was generally much closer than that - more perhaps a question that people were more familiar with the flavours in the wines and less used to beer pairing. But do try the Wild Beer Co's beers if you get the opportunity - they’re widely stocked in and around Bristol. And the wines came from the newly opened Red & White who have a really interesting range.
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* Interestingly it was also a winner at a wine v cider event at The Thatchers Arms near Colchester at the weekend.
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