Pairing Ice Cider with Cheese
Sometimes the best pairing for a dessert beverage like the Essence Ice Cider is not the added sweetness of a dessert, but the rich contrast of local cheese.
Here we look at some of the basic elements of an ice cider and cheese pairing, and ideas for putting together a cheese board.
Remember to keep it simple. The pairing could be with one cheese. Try not to make it more than three.
Blue cheese and ice cider is such a classic pairing. But don't let classic become cliche! Why does this pairing work so well? First, there is the sweet/salty interplay. It's a contrast that excites your mouth. Second, the strong flavor of the blue cheese works as a synergist to bring out the fruit in the cider.
This pairing leverages similar flavors. The process of freezing our juice outside in the winter helps to develop nutty and caramely oxidized flavors in the ice cider. Look for similar nutty or caramely flavors in cheeses like gouda or alpine cheese.
Here we pair with Crosswind Farm Creamery "Goblin" which is made from the milk of Brown Swiss cows in the Finger Lakes- a nutty, herbal Alpine style cheese.
Chèvre is a great contrasting pairing for our Essence Ice Cider, especially when sandwiched with something intense like apricot preserves. This pairing works on contrasts, the creaminess of the chèvre, and the intense sugar in the cider backed up by the preserves.
Here we paired with Side Hill Acres "Chèvre". Side Hill makes the best chèvre, hands down. So fresh and creamy, I've converted people who don't like goat cheese with it. And you can buy it for a very reasonable price in the next town over from us.
The Cheese Board
This is only meant to be a guide. Search out these wonderful cheeses if you are in the Finger Lakes, or find your own local stand ins.
When paring with ice cider think of using:
-A nutty cheese to compliment the nuttiness of the Essence
-A creamy cheese to contrast the intensity of the sweet/tart Essence
-A strong blue to highlight the fruitiness in the Essence
Other components of a cheese plate could include:
-Sweet. A local raw honey.
-Savory. The typical choice is Marcona almonds, but you could opt for a local choice like Stony Brook Maple Glazed Pumpkin Seeds
-Fresh. I like sliced apples or pears.
-Intense. Homemade or locally made fruit (like apricot) preserves are the best.
PAIRING WITH ICE CIDER
Serve the ice cider cool, but not chilled. You'll enjoy the aromas more. We recommend serving small pours...Ice cider is intense and small sips are good!
In France, they drink sweet wine before dinner! You can do it either way.
- Autumn Stoscheck