Bantam Cider at Formaggio Kitchen

Last night I went to an excellent pairing of Bantam Cider Company's tasty ciders and Formaggio Kitchen's wonderful cheeses. Michelle da Silva from Bantam Cider was there to teach everyone a bit about cider, and Julia Hallman from Formaggio was there to explain the cheeses and condiments.




Our first cheese plate came out with a bonus bit of cider: a radler style cider, made with grapefruit and dry hopped, as explained to us by Michelle. 



The first two cheeses were paired with Wunderkind, their first cider, and also the very first cider I tried from Bantam. Julia explained that she chose these cheeses based on the fact that the cider contained champagne yeast, so these cheeses were both ones that would pair successfully with champagne as well. First up was Ada's Honor, a slightly aged goat's milk cheese from Ruggles Hill Creamery in Hardwick, Massachusetts. This, along with the apple cider jelly, was one of my favorite pairings of the evening. Twig Farm's Washed Rind cheese completed the first tasting; it's a cow and goat's milk cheese from West Cornwall, Vermont.



The second set of pairings were all about Rojo, Bantam's cider made with ale yeast, black cherries, and peppercorns. It has a wonderful flavor, similar to sour beers, and went well with the cheeses and tart cherry preserve from Sicily. The first cheese to be paired, Brebis Pardou, a sheep's milk cheese from the Pyrénées in France, was my favorite pairing of the two, but Calcagno, a sheep's milk cheese from Sardinia, Italy, was pretty great as well.



The third round brought out cans of The Americain, a cider with flavors that represented apple pie, made with ale yeast and a Persian spice mix of rose petals, coriander, and cloves. The cheeses were served with apple mostarda from Cremona, Italy. The first cheese of the two was Bridgid's Abbey, a cow's milk cheese from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, Connecticut, and it was followed by an equally tasty cheese, Cabot's Clothbound Cheddar, a cow's milk cheese produced in Greensboro, Vermont and aged in the Cellars at Jasper Hill




The final tasting was all about pairing with the Smoked Saison cider. First up was my favorite cheese of the night, Boerenkaas Grand Cru, a cow's milk Gouda from Flanders, Belgium that is aged two years. I have a weakness for aged goudas lately, and this one was particularly nutty and caramel flavored. Bleu de Brebis, a sheep's milk cheese from Auvergne, France, was the final cheese, and matched wonderfully with the smoked cider and mountain honey from France. 

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