How to Host a Cider & Cheese Pairing Party

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Apples and cheese – it’s one of the most classic fall flavor pairings. With so many craft ciders now available, it’s easy to put together a selection of pairings for a cider and cheese night – similar to a wine and cheese night, but with a whole new realm of flavors to explore! Planning is easy – just assemble these four simple combinations made in harvest heaven, gather your friends and let the tasting begin.

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What you’ll need:

  • 4 different types of hard cider – brut apple cider, pear cider, apple cherry cider and oak aged apple cider. Check with your local liquor or grocery store for varieties available in your area.
  • A selection of your favorite Wisconsin cheddar, blue, brie and parmesan cheeses. Don’t know which to choose? Ask your local cheesemonger for suggestions from Wisconsin.
  • Cocktail glasses, beer glassware or tasting sets. Differently shaped glassware for each cider or wood paddle serving sets, like this one, add a fun flare.
  • Serving accessories, like cheese boards, elegant cheese knives and cheese labels
  • Pairing notes. Print out the pairing notes via the link below for guests to reference during your party. Add extra excitement by having your guests rate each pairing or buy extra bottles of cider and small wedges of cheese for guests to take home their favorite combinations.
  • Pairing additions. Provide extra food and décor for your cheese plates by adding fresh pear and apple slices, fresh cherries, mixed nuts, dried fruit and crackers.

Cheddar-and-Brie

The pairings:

  • Brut Apple Cider + Wisconsin Cheddar

Classic and balanced, dry apple cider is essentially a bubbly, drinkable apple. It’s no surprise that this time-honored pairing carries its perfect balance even in cider form. Sharp Wisconsin cheddar sets the stage with a creamy tang and allows crisp apple flavors to harmonize playfully with the cheese’s bold performance.

  • Apple Cherry Cider + Wisconsin Brie

Decadence reaches a new level in the form of Wisconsin brie and tart cherry apple cider. Beneath its bloomy rind, brie is oozing with creamy cheese that carries big earthy flavor a long way despite its young age. Apple cherry cider stands up to its emphatic profile with softened tartness and sweet apple-cherry balance.

Parmesan-and-Blue

  • Oak Aged Apple Cider + Wisconsin Parmesan

Robust and full, this cider is partial to older, saltier cheeses like aged parmesan. Together, they form a duo that knows the wisdom of a perfectly aged cheese and oak aged apple cider. The oak barrel gives the cider a sweet caramel layer to its astringent base. Parmesan’s earthy, salty flavors find a surprising companion in this pairing. 

  • Pear Cider + Wisconsin Blue Cheese

Pear cider and blue cheese together create a flavor that revels in tradition. While pear and blue cheese are long-time friends, they find an unexpected revival in this pairing. The cider takes ripe and distinct flavors from the fruit and gives blue cheese a light, bubbly surface from which its strong flavors can build then gradually mellow at a comfortable pace.

Click here for printable pairing notes: Cider and Cheese Pairing Notes

Need more fall party inspiration? Find more recipes and ideas for fall entertaining in our harvest issue of Grate. Pair. Share.

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