Monday, 15 February 2010

Cider & Cheese - A Classic Combo?

It seemed like the perfect culinary combination. An award winning Welsh farmhouse cheese, rind-washed in cider, matured to a sticky, gooey perfection, and accompanied by one of the finest ciders Wales has to offer. Mwynhewch eich bwyd!, as the Welsh are wont to say...

Wrong, wrong, very, very wrong! As anyone who's read this blog will know, I'm probably 'Cheese & Cider's biggest advocates, but this.... A total gastronomic rail crash. No foody chemistry whatsoever. Like Chalk and ..err.. Cheese in fact.

The cheese in question is the rather (and there's no getting away from this) 'cheesily' named Celtic Promise from Teifi Farmhouse Cheese of Llanddysul, Ceredigion. I bought my modest chunk from the excellent Delilah Deli in downtown Nottingham, along with a sliver of delicious aged Manchego. It's a seriously good cheese, creamy, pungent, and really very smelly. Like it's similarly rind-washed English cousin Stinking Bishop (which is washed in perry), this has the kind of sweaty socks aroma that could be seriously embarrassing on the bus journey home. Stinking Bishop has a little too much 'socks' for my liking, but this is milder, and lovely spread on a bit of bread or a sweet oaty biscuit.

So, the classic combination. Pungent cheese and sweetish Gwynt-Y-Ddraig Haymaker Cider. A good match on paper, but Oh Lord! What a disaster. The cheese has the effect of rendering all flavour in the cider secondary to the taste of sweaty, mouldy, three-week old builders socks. The delicate, fruity cider hasn't got a hope-in-hell of cutting through this thug of a cheese, and quite honestly, I can't think of anything in bottle or on draught that would. I've had a look around on the various cheesy online resources, and they all give varying recommendations for fine wines, ale and cider to partner this cheese. Well, only if you don't particularly like the taste of fine wine, ale, or cider.
My drink recommendation to accompany Celtic Promise cider rind-washed cheese.... Water, Welsh or otherwise!

No comments: