By Wendy Crispell

It’s no coincidence that the world’s best cider regions are also known for their cheeses. Here in the Hudson Valley and Capital Region there are a number of creameries producing cheeses that create magical combinations when paired with local hard ciders, and many are available in tasting rooms, farm stores and markets.

In general, drier styles of cider pair well with mild, fresh goat cheeses, while off-dry, fruit infused or barrel-aged styles favor cheddars and Gouda. Sweeter-style ciders, and Orchard Hill’s Pommeau, are the perfect ending to any meal accompanied with a spicy blue cheese.

Some cideries are collaborating with local dairies and cheese caves to create their own special cheeses. Try one of the following for an ideal marriage of cider and cheese:

Nine Pin Ciderworks has recently teamed up with Nettle Meadows Farm to create Pins and Nettles, a mixed goat and cow’s milk tomme washed with cider, then rubbed with bright green tarragon and sea salt. It’s a delicious, crumbly, hard cheese with ginger undertones.

A seasonal favorite from Murray’s Cheese in NYC is Little Big Apple (below) using apple leaves from Warwick Valley Winery’s orchard. After soaking the leaves in apple brandy, they are wrapped around a triple crème tomme and aged in caves on Bleeker Street in the West Village. If you’re lucky enough to score a piece of this, sit down and pour yourself a glass of Warwick’s Black Dirt Apple Jack or their aged American Fruits Apple Liqueur. Pure perfection!

Consider Bardwell Farm Slyboro is a raw goat milk cheese, washed in hard cider from Slyboro Cider House in Granville. Aged for about two months, this cheese has sweet grassy notes and a hint of apple lingering on the rind.

Local cheeses are also available at Bad Seed Cider Co., Brookview Station Winery, Applewood Winery, and Nine Pin Ciderworks. Discover your own favorite pairings with the region’s ciders and recreate the experience at home!