Cider and Cheese - a perfect celebration!

Cider and Cheese - a perfect celebration!

As part of CAMRA's Cider month, the North London branch decided to do something a little different by carrying out a cider and cheese tasting. This took place at the Pineapple in Kentish Town, who used the event to kick off a mini cider festival as well.

Selecting six British cheeses, these were paired with six ciders and perries and for many the taste combinations proved a revelation.

The first drink was Gwatkin's Pyder (5% ABV) of Herefordshire, which is a mix of cider and perry creating a refreshing sweet drink with fruit throughout. It was matched with Appleby Red Cheshire, an unpasteurised cheese created by Mrs Appleby of Shropshire. This Cheshire is the last one that is made using the traditional calico band method where the cheese is wrapped in calico cloth for at least 6 months.

The next cheese was a Caerphilly from Gorwydd, which won the Best Welsh Cheese in 2012 and Gold in the British Cheese Awards in 2013. It was accompanied by Hampshire's Mr Whitehead's Midnight Special Perry (5%ABV). This uses a combination of dessert and perry pears. It has 'peary' aroma and flavour and the slightly sweet character went well with the sourness of the cheese.

The next drink was a Somerset cider called Legbender at 6%ABV from Rich's, which is matured in oak barrels. It is a clear, full flavoured cider and it held its own with the full flavoured Denby Mature Cheddar from Dorset, which is another award winning cheese.

This was followed by Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese from the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. It was made by Simon Jones and is matured for over 14 months creating a cheese that is a bit like a West Country Cheddar. It was twinned with Mr Whitehead's Blackberry Cider (4%ABV). This cider uses blackberries, which creates a fruity acidic character overlaid with a medium sweetness that cuts through the strong flavour of the cheese.

The fifth cheese was another cheese from Dorset, Ford Farm's Oakwood Smoked Cheddar. It is made by producing a normal Cheddar and then smoked over oak chippings by a local smokery. This was tasted with Somerset's Broadoak's Kingston Black, a single cider apple variety. At 7.5% ABV, this cider's strength and sweetness helped balance with the smoke flavour of the cheese.

As port and cheese are a known perfect combination, the last cider was another from Broadoak. This time is was a port cask medium sweet cider at 6% ABV i.e. the cider is matured in port casks and it was drunk with Dorset Blue Vinney from Woodbridge Farm near Sturminster. This was a very common farmhouse cheese variety until the 1970s.

The whole event proved so popular that we'll be doing again next year!

Jessica Marsh, Christine Cryne