By John David Ryan
It’s October in New York which means people are wearing scarves, putting pumpkin in everything, talking about how they wish they were in Vermont, and drinking hard cider. It’s a Northeastern US thing. Or maybe it’s a “we try to be chic like the French” thing. Either way: few things inspire the foodie palate like cider in the fall. But when it comes to pairing hard cider, you might find the task a bit more challenging. There are more obvious differences between a German pilsner and a roasty coffee stout ale than there is between a Normandy brut and Asturian cider. But fear not! Pairing cider and cheese might be easier than you think.
If it grows together, it goes together. In other words: if there’s a region famous for a specific cider and it also makes specific types of cheese, give them a whirl.
Let’s start with the classic: a dry, Basque-inspired cider. Millstone’s Farmgate is a traditional, oak barrel fermented cider. This Maryland cidery’s heirloom apples produce a complex juice that is slightly tart and with a floral kick. Pair it with Monte Enebro, a Spanish goat’s milk cheese that’s rubbed in ash and mold giving it a salty exterior punch. (Yes. I just used two fighting metaphors for this pairing.) The inside is firm, acidic, goaty goodness.