We love Angry Orchard on its own so when we heard they had introduced artisanal cheese and hard cider pairings, we couldn’t be happier. Just in time for the holiday season, Artisanal Premium Cheese Center’s award winning maître fromager Max McCalman and Angry Orchard cider maker David Sipes have curated a selection of cheese and hard cider pairings.
Here are a few pairings:
ANGRY ORCHARD CRISP APPLE: This crisp and refreshing fruit-forward cider mixes the sweetness of the apples with a subtle dryness for a balanced cider taste. The fresh apple aroma and slightly sweet, ripe apple flavor make this cider hard to resist.
Crisp Apple + Cremont
Cremont profile: A mix of goat’s and cow’s milk, from Vermont, this tart and buttery cheese has a mild, salty and creamy finish with a soft, round mouthfeel.
Pairing qualities: Crisp Apple and Cremont pair well together because the cheese is not too salty and the cider is not too sweet, creating a delicate partnership where each balances the flavor of the other. As the Cremont dissolves into the Crisp Apple it gently highlights the cider’s freshness, while the acidity of the cider cuts through some of the fats of the cheese. The lightness of the goat’s milk coupled with the soft, buttery cow’s milk and cream both enhance Crisp Apple’s natural crisp and refreshing qualities.
Crisp Apple + Stilton (Colton Bassett)
Stilton profile: A cow’s milk blue, from England, this warm, buttery and savory cheese has a gentle bitter note in the finish with a firm but moist and claylike texture.
Pairing qualities: While blue cheeses are at times difficult to pair with wines and ciders due to their strong flavors, the fruit-forward qualities of Crisp Apple balance the bit of blue in this savory cheese. The Stilton lifts the Crisp Apple to a high, bright point on the palate, and both cider and cheese enjoy a long warm finish together.
ANGRY ORCHARD APPLE GINGER: Fresh Nigerian ginger and apple flavors blend together for a sweet, yet slightly tart, cider with a distinct ginger aroma and warm finish. The result is a smooth, refreshing cider that goes down easy.
Apple Ginger + Robiola Rocchetta
Robiola Rocchetta profile: A soft to semi-soft cheese that is a mix of milks including goat, sheep and cow from Northwest Italy, this cheese has a short aging process, giving it a fresh milk flavor, which is in turn deepened with the oily sheep’s milk and simultaneously lifted by the gently tart goat’s milk, and finally enhanced with a butter note from the cow’s milk.
Pairing qualities: Robiola Rocchetta, a complex cheese that settles across the palate slowly, is complemented well by Apple Ginger, which provides an exotic interplay with the many flavor qualities in the cheese. The cider specifically interacts with the light claylike texture and the olive oil aroma— yet is not lost in the mix, holding up all the way through to the finish. Apple Ginger opens up in the mouth and balances with the game-like flavor of the cheese, hinting at a reminder of Thanksgiving.
Apple Ginger + Ossau Iraty
Ossau Iraty profile: A pressed sheep’s milk cheese, from Southwest France, with a nutty, meaty and grassy flavor and firm, moist and smooth texture.
Pairing qualities: This lively pairing demonstrates the perfect marriage of cheese and cider— neither piece comes out on top but rather, both cider and cheese work together in harmony. The Apple Ginger moderates the fatty flavors of the cheese while highlighting its sweetness, and the cheese provides a firm platform for the Apple Ginger to ride. The Ossau Iraty has well-balanced flavors and aromas but is complex, which gives the assertive flavor of the Apple Ginger a counterpoint. The moderate acid in the cheese balances that in the cider to give the pairing a pleasing, fresh finish.
ANGRY ORCHARD STRAWMAN: This traditional farmhouse cider’s ripe apple, vanilla and honeysuckle flavors impart an earthy character complemented by a distinct aroma of ripe apples, wood, dark fruits and sweet citrus. Strawman is aged on wood with toasted qualities to add to the traditional earthy farmhouse flavors of the cider and with notes of vanilla to help balance this cider’s funky characteristics.
Strawman + Comté
Comté profile: A cooked, pressed cow’s milk cheese from Eastern France with a nutty, buttery, fruity and herbal flavor and firm-to-hard (depending on age) texture.
Pairing qualities: The acids and aromatics of both the Comté and Strawman create a well-balanced pairing, each highlighting the subtle nuances of the other. The cider relies less on its fruit flavors and more on its savory profile to enhance the cheese’s spicy and herbal flavors, for a beautiful yet subtle finish.
Roncal profile: A pressed sheep’s milk cheese, from Northeastern Spain, with grassy, nutty and savory, flavors and a hard, granular texture.
Pairing quailities: Roncal creates a firm, balanced platform on which Strawman can shine, allowing the apple flavor of the cider to come through more significantly than it would without the cheese. The slightly dry Strawman balances the more savory Roncal with a lovely start, and the gentle acid in the Strawman dissolves the cheese for a sharp finish.
ANGRY ORCHARD CINNFUL APPLE: This is a crisp and refreshing hard cider with a spicy twist. The sweet, slightly tart apple flavor is balanced with cinnamon spice, adding hints of cocoa and a slight heat balanced by a dry and warm finish.
Cinnful + Garrotxa:
Garrotxa profile: A pressed goat’s milk cheese, from Northeast Spain’s Catalunya with mild and creamy, gentle hazelnut flavors and a firm and moist texture.
Pairing qualities: Cinnful and Garrotxa have an excellent ‘pop’ together in the mouth at the start, with neither the cheese nor the cider dominating the pairing. Cinnful brings out new flavors in this mild goat cheese, and the Garrotxa in turn gracefully moderates some of the cinnamon notes in the cider while allowing the spicy apple flavor to shine through.
Cinnful + Piave:
Piave profile: A cooked cow’s milk cheese, from Northeast Italy, with a hard, granular texture and sweet, mellow, buttery and fruity flavors.
Pairing qualities: The gentle acidity of the Cinnful cider highlights the vegetal notes in this cheese, with the two blending together for a glorious finish. The cider balances the depth of flavor in the aged Piave, with the cinnamon still prominent so that the cheese does not dominate the mix. The Piave’s fruity flavors naturally meld with those in Cinnful, but the cheese is assertive enough to hold up to the cinnamon accents in the cider.
For more information, visit www.angryorchard.com.