Six of the best matches for cheddar cheese
As with most cheeses the ideal pairing for cheddar depends how mature it is. A mild to medium block cheddar is going to be a lot easier to match (and in most cheeselovers’ eyes a lot less interesting) than a tangy cloth-bound cheddar of 18 months or more.
For the purposes of this article though I’m assuming your cheddar is somewhere in between: mature, with a bit of bite but not too funky.
Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
We automatically think of red wine with cheese but it can struggle particularly with a sharp, well-matured cheddar. I’ve had most success with intensely fruity Chilean Cabernet Sauvignons but similarly fruity Cabernets from elsewhere (South Australia, for instance) can work well too. Watch the tannins though. Often a bottle with a two or three years bottle age will work better than a young one.
Late Bottled Vintage or vintage port
A classic pairing for cheese and cheddar is no exception
A strong ale
The basis of the popular ploughman's but I’d personally go for a brew of over 5% - a strong ale in other words. Adnams Broadside is a good example. Also the best match for a cheddar-based Welsh rarebit!
A medium-dry strong cider . . .
Almost any combination of apple and cheddar is a winner but if your cheddar is medium to full-flavoured go for a medium-dry strongish cider . . .
. . . or apple flavoured liqueur
Especially with stronger cheddars. The Somerset Distillery's Kingston Black or Somerset Pomona work particularly well.
An oaky chardonnay
Now this might surprise you but a barrel-fermented chardonnay is a surprisingly good pairing with a strong cheddar, bringing out the mellowness in the cheese and the fruitiness of the wine. If you don’t believe me check out the 2012 competition results on What Food, What Wine.
Note: serving chutney with your cheddar may make your match less successful. In general I find beer or cider work best.
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