Apple & Cheddar: The Pairing Guide
Pairing apples and cheddar is a win-win no matter which varieties you choose.
With all the options out there, we thought a bit of guidance could really help those pairings pop. Every apple variety like every naturally-aged cheddar has slightly different elements of crisp, creamy, tart, and sharp.
Apple Storage & Selection
Author, poet and naturalist Henry David Thoreau called the apple “the noblest of all fruits” and it’s no wonder; apples are truly a work of nature. Whether red, yellow, pink, green, the best way to judge an apple is by its firmness to the touch, not its color.
The best apples are free of bruises. To keep them that way, place them gently into the refrigerator bin or cellar basket.
Store apples in a cool place, and refrain from washing them until just before serving to avoid spoilage.
Serving tip: rub sliced apples with lemon to prevent the flesh from darkening when it meets the air.
Crisp Fragrant Flavor + Naturally-Aged Bite
Apple Characteristics: Heart-shaped, yellow-orange with red striping, mild, sweet but juicy, ripens mid-August to early-September.
Cheese Pairing: The Gala apple is perfect for snacking or as a topping on a salad. It’s crisp fragrant flavor is best enjoyed with the naturally-aged bite of Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar. The combination is balanced and perfect for an afternoon snack. Short on time? Try Cabot Cracker Cuts!
Creamy Smooth + Tart Bite
Apple Characteristics: Deep green with an occasional pink blush, tart and juicy, ripens mid- to late-October.
Cheese Pairing: The Granny Smith is known for its tartness. Cabot Pepper Jack brings a creamy smooth texture to balance the tartness, then kicks in a little spice at the end to heat things up.
Nutty Sharpness + Honey Sweet
Apple Characteristics: A red and yellow apple that while a newer variety to the American palate, has quickly gained fame for its delicious crisp taste with sweet honey notes.
Cheese Pairing: Cabot Alpine Cheddar is the perfect complement to this popular apple variety. The nutty sharpness of the cheese plays on the honey sweetness of the Honey Crisp for a flavor combination that was meant to be.
Sweet, Juicy + Wild-Natured Sharpness
Apple Characteristics: Red and green skin, sweet, extra juicy, ripens in early-September.
Cheese Pairing: Another apple great for snacking, the refreshingly sweet tart flavor plays well against the wild-natured sharpness of Cabot’s Seriously Sharp.
Spicy Sweet + Bold Flavor
Apple Characteristics: Greenish gold combined with red to nearly solid red in color. Rich, spicy-sweet, crisp, juicy to taste. Ripens early- to mid-October.
Cheese Pairing: One of nature’s most versatile apples, the Braeburn’s spicy sweet, high-impact flavor requires a bold, powerhouse cheese to stand up to it. Cabot Habanero cheddar won’t let you down.
Sweet, Juicy + Smooth, Mellow
Apple Characteristics: Ranges from very red to yellow-green with red highlights, super sweet, super juicy, ripens late season, mid- to late-October.
Cheese Pairing: The Fuji is a versatile variety, great for snacking, backing, or adding to a dish for a fresh topping. Cabot Sharp Lite50 Cheddar’s smooth mellow profile provides a nice backdrop to the sweetness and bright flavor of the fuji.
Habanero & Braeburn: Grainy Mustard, Salami, Pickle
Alpine & Honey Crisp: Prosciutto, Fig Jam, Thyme
Extra Sharp & Gala: Bacon, Maple Glazed Walnuts, Rosemary
We’ve selected some of our favorite Apple and Cheddar recipes to give you a jump start in the kitchen! Try these Mini Apple Tarts with Cabot Cracker Cuts or these Easy Apple Cheddar Quesadilla Snacks for a healthy snack the kids will enjoy.
- Apples have been part of the human diet since at least 6,500 BC.
- Apples are grown in all 50 states.
- The Pilgrims planted the first US apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
- The US produces 2,500 different varieties of apples but only 100 are used commercially.
- Sources: University of Illinois Extension, California Apple Commission, Vermont Apples