Apples, cheeses, wines and ciders…oh my!

November 23, 2015

It’s November, which means the holiday entertaining season is almost upon us.

Some people love their tried and true holiday traditions – especially when it comes to food – but if you’re looking to shake things up a bit when you’re entertaining this year, we’ve got some delicious ideas for you.

They’re not only quick and easy, but they’re also healthy and local – and they cover off both eating and drinking in deliciously matched combos.

We’re talking about pairing up Ontario apples and local cheeses with Ontario wine or apple ciders for a holiday entertaining menu that’s sure to please.

“These pairings really showcase the versatility of Ontario apples. You can easily pair them with different cheeses for a healthy snack option,” explains Kelly Ciceran, General Manager of the Ontario Apple Growers. “Or just add a suitable Ontario VQA wine or a delicious local craft cider and you’ve got a ready-made pre-dinner reception or holiday cocktail party menu.”

Here’s what we recommend pairing with your favourite Ontario apple varieties:

  • Cortland, a firm and mild to slightly acidic apple: Washed rind cheese and a Pinot Gris or a flat and dry, full flavour cider
  • Red Delicious, a crispy and sweet, juicy apple: Creamy Blue Cheese  or Feta with an oaked Chardonnay or a slightly sparkling, sweet cider
  • Gala, a firm and sweet apple: Extra Old Cheddar and a Baco Noir or a flat, dry and tart cider
  • Ambrosia, a crispy and sweet apple: Smoked Cheddar or a Goat Cheese with a semi-dry Riesling or a slightly sparkling and tart cider
  • Empire, a firm to crispy and slightly sweet apple: Aged Gouda or washed rind cheese paired with a Merlot or a slightly sparkling, dry cider
  • McIntosh, a semi-soft and mild apple: Maple Cheddar matched with a Sauvignon Blanc or a slightly sparkling and tart cider
  • Red Prince, a firm and slightly acidic apple: Fior di Latte (a semi-soft cheese) and a Sauvignon Blanc or a flat and dry, full flavour cider
  • Crispin/Mutsu, a firm and sweeter apple: Fior di Latte paired with an unoaked Chardonnay or a sweet, sparkling cider
  • Golden Delicious, a firm to crispy and slightly sweet apple: Creamy Blue Cheese or Feta together with a semi-dry Riesling or a sweet, sparkling cider
  • Honeycrisp, a very firm and sweet apple: Creamy Blue Cheese or Feta with an ice wine or a slightly sparkling, sweet cider

For more great apple entertaining or recipe ideas, checkout the recipes section of this website.  Other great resources are Foodland Ontario (www.foodland.gov.on.ca) and Ontario Craft Cider Association (www.ontariocraftcider.com).