Just like the next food lover, we’re all about pairing wine with cheese. This quintessential match holds an established place in our hearts and on our palates, but we also value thinking outside of the bottle, if you will.
As New Yorkers, we’re surrounded by what might as well be called the “cider belt,” aka the Hudson Valley. Some of the country’s best cideries are only a short trip upstate, making drinking local suds not just possible, but a true pleasure.
Malt & Mold on the Lower East Side is one of our favorite shops to source New York ciders, as well as pickles, beer, chocolate and (as the name playfully suggests) cheese. To accompany our feature of Malt & Mold in our current drinks issue, we wanted to share some cider and cheese pairing suggestions from the shop’s proprietor and chief executive cheese and beer monger, Kevin Heald.
Sure, you can break these out for New Year’s, but these matches can surely be enjoyed all year long.
- Naked Flock Hard Cider’s Draft Cider & Wilapa Hills’s Two-Faced Blue
Naked Flock Hard Cider from Warwick, New York, has a style they simply called “Draft Cider” that’s available both on draft and in bottles. It goes great with Wilapa Hills’s Two-Faced Blue. This cheese is made with sheep and cow’s milk, which gives it a deeper flavor than a simple cow’s milk blue. The cider has a full-bodied, semisweet taste that holds up to the strong cheese flavor and complements its natural saltiness.
- Bad Seed Cider’s Belgian Abbey Cider & Sapore del Piave
Bad Seed Cider’s (who our sister pub Edible Brooklyn has written about before) Belgian Abbey Cider uses a Belgian ale yeast that gives it a nice and dry finish. I like a sharp cheese with this drink, specifically Sapore del Piave. The name translates to “taste of Piave” to distinguish it from the mass-produced industrial cheeses also going by the name Piave nowadays. It hails from Italy and is similar in style to a Parmigiano-Reggiano. There’s more moisture content though, so it can be a snacking cheese versus a grating cheese, like Parm (of course, the latter is perfectly fine on a cheese plate, too).
- Aaron Burr Cider’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Cider & Lazy Lady Farm’s Snow’d In
This is one of the driest American ciders out there. It’s a sophisticated beverage. Here’s how Andy Brennan, the cider maker, describes it on his website (I can’t do any better): “buttery with imparted smoke and vanilla from barrel.” I’d pair this with Lazy Lady Farm’s brand new cheese, Snow’d In. Yes, the name is indeed a reference to a certain NSA bugaboo. It’s a bloomy rinded beauty with a geotrichum rind.