Ever wondered if hard ciders play well with cheeses from the around the world? Learn the outcomes of this uncommon pairing. Spoiler alert: deliciousness ahead.

Event Recap: Cider and Cheese Pairing, June 3, 2017

Hand-crafted ciders made true to English standards? Hand-crafted cheeses from around the world? Both in one place overflowing with the friendly energy of a British pub? As one of our favorite Brits, Austin Powers, would say, “Yeah, baby!”

We’re there!

Five ciders from Bristols Cider House and five cheeses from Fromagerie Sophie. Let the tasting begin.

Last Saturday, June 3, Bristols Cider House in Atascadero hosted the first of what the Flavor Team hopes is many cider and cheese pairing events with Fromagerie Sophie, the delightful cheese shop in San Luis Obispo.

Meeting the (Cider) Maker

Bristols Cider House owners Neil and Marcy Collins and Jackie bring England’s best cidermaking methods to the Central Coast. Lucky for all of us.

When we attended last month’s 2nd Annual Central Coast Cider Festival in Atascadero, we met Erich Fleck, cider maker at Bristols. As we chatted over tastings of Anne Bonny and Black Beard, we asked about doing a more in-depth story on Bristols Cider House and the cider-making process. Erich was all in, and we were, too. (Stay tuned for our Bristols article – coming soon.)

As we arranged the interview with Erich, he mentioned the cider and cheese pairing. Maybe we’d like to do the interview and then stay for the pairing? When we heard about this match up – thinking of that simple yet sublime pairing of crisp apple slices circling the plate with wedges of cheese – we signed up right away. Good thing, too, because the 20 seats available for this inaugural event sold out quickly.

Five Ciders and Cheeses Await

The Flavor Team has enjoyed hard cider for a long time, appreciating how a quality cider reflects the talents of the cider maker as it’s crafted to match the creator’s vision.

While we know a little bit about cider making, we know close to nothing about cheese making (we do know that cows are often involved), so we were excited for the opportunity to experience and learn more about both.

The sellout crowd of 20 happy pairing participants mingles before the tasting begins.

We took our seats around one of three wooden farm tables. Our fellow cider and cheese explorers were equally excited to see what the afternoon would bring.

The Bristols Cider House owners Neil and Marci Collins and Jackie Meisinger (Neil and Jackie are siblings) founded Bristols in 1994 to bring English cidermaking to the Central Coast. As participants took their seats, Neil, Jackie, and Erich welcomed all of us and introduced Fromagerie Sophie co-owner Paul Doering. Sophie Boban-Doering arrived a bit later to walk us through the last cheeses in the pairing.

Fromagerie Sophie cheese selections for the pairing (from left): Kirkham’s Lancashire Mature, Montgomery Cheddar, Langres, Celilio, Soumaintrain.

Paul placed gleaming porcelain plates in front of each participant, with five cheeses artfully arranged from left to right, while Erich and Jackie poured the first cider of the pairing. The excitement in the room was thick. We all couldn’t wait to begin.

Here are the five pairings and a few of our thoughts.

Pairing 1

Flavor Team member Andrew and others at our table are excited to taste great cider and great cheeses.

Pairing 2

Fromagerie Sophie co-owner Paul Doering shares more about the cheese-making process.

Pairing 3

Pairing 4


Sophie Boban-Doering, co-owner and namesake of Fromagerie Sophie, discusses how the cheeses reflect the country, culture, and environment in which they’re made.

Pairing 5

Flavor Team Flavorites

Fromagerie Sophie owners Sophie Boban-Doering and Paul Doering with the Flavor Team after the super-successful and fun cider/cheese pairing event.


Watching the Evolution

As we were putting together this story, we talked about how our palates are developing and changing. We’ve definitely seen it with wine, and now we are seeing it in our cider tastings. For example, just a few months ago, I remember tasting some of the more lively or “less traditional” ciders (i.e., those outside the dry, crisp, appley, sparkling range). While I could appreciate the art in making them, I didn’t honestly love them. Now, Skimmington is one of my Flavorites and Granata is one of Andrew’s Flavorites.

It will be fun to see how our cheese palates develop over time.

And, hmm, an interesting a correlation to living a great flavored life. Palates – appreciation and enjoyment – change in more than food and drink, and that’s a very good thing in life, in my opinion. The more we learn and experience new things, the more new things come along to experience. Cool how that works.

Closing Thoughts

Judging by the lively conversations going on at every table and the great interactions with Bristols and Fromagerie Sophie folks, the pairing was a complete success.

Great people, living their passions, sharing their gifts with world, and spreading joy one cider and one wheel of cheese at a time. It really does make the world a better place.

We hope there are more of these events in the future. We’ll keep our eyes open for the next cider and cheese pairing, and will post it in our Calendar.

Hope to see you there! ‘Til then, keep tasting the great flavors of life!

For More Information
Bristols Cider House

Fromagerie Sophie

Have you had the opportunity to enjoy a cider/cheese pairing? What were your thoughts? Do you have favorite ciders or cheeses? Please let us know and we’ll cover those in future stories.


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