The Best Cheeses To Pair With Apple Cider, According To An Expert

Whether sweet or acidic, hard cider can be an excellent accompaniment to cheese, much like beer or wine. In fact, the pairing of cider and cheese has a long-standing tradition, particularly in England and Europe. As the temperature begins to drop and the nights grow longer, many of us start craving warmer, cozier drinks.

Warm apple cider is a fall favorite for many, and the good news is that this aromatic tipple pairs just as well with cheese as colder drinks do. The key is to select cheeses with flavors that either complement or contrast with those in the sweet, spiced drink.

According to cheese expert Chad Galer, who serves as the VP of Product Innovation and Food Safety at Dairy Management Inc., warm apple cider — which he calls "a staple of fall festivals" — pairs excellently with the right cheeses. Galer, who grew up on a dairy farm, holds a degree in microbiology, and has spent his entire career in the dairy industry, has shared his top picks for such pairings with Food Republic. His selections? Sharp cheddars and salty Parmesans.

How to pick a cheese to pair with apple cider

Cheese expert Chad Galer is known for his innovative pairings, such as habanero cheese with creamy chocolate milk or buttery brie with sweet lemonade. Luckily, he has equally inspired suggestions for cheeses to enjoy with a glass of mellow, sweet, autumnal apple cider.

First on the list is sharp cheddar cheese. "The savory and sharp flavors are enhanced by the sweet apple flavors of the warm cider," Galer told Food Republic. This pairing isn't as unusual as it may seem when you consider the complementary flavors. "This is a take on the Midwest staple of eating cheddar cheese with apple pie," Galer explains.

Another option that pairs well with apple cider is Parmesan cheese. According to Galer, this Italian hard cheese, made from cow's milk, has a rich, distinctive taste that offers a variety of flavors, making it an intriguing match. "The slight sweet, fruity, and savory flavors of Parmesan are a wonderful complement to the sweetness of the apple cider," Galer shared. Fall has never sounded so tasty.