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Cheese with Ale Party fare typically features pairings of wine and cheese, but few realise, or appreciate, the wonderful taste combination of a good mug of ale with a deliciously ripe cheese. The UK boasts more than 700 types of cheese, and in excess of 5,000 ales. The two have much in common. Cheese and ale production can be traced back to Neolithic times, and production methods were heavily influenced by monastic orders that taught new techniques to local farmers throughout the Roman and Saxon periods. Both were made by farmers with surplus produce as a method of converting extra yield into something of value and pleasure. Cheese and ale both have their roots in grasses – for a great cheese, the quality of grass eaten by cows impacts the milk production and flavour; for beer, the malting of barley and wheat initiates the alchemy of beer making. And they share similar flavours. Nutty, tangy, floral and earthy... a variety of tastes can be sensed. Both offer contrasting textures and flavours; one type of beer can be 24

smooth, another sharp; one cheese is creamy, another tangy and dry. These contrasts allow for wonderful marriages of cheese and ale. The sweetness of one particular beer perfectly complements a cheese’s saltiness. The cleansing bubbles of an ale can cut through the palette-coating richness of a specific cheese. This is where Louisa Mason, of Flavour Tastings, showcases her specialist knowledge of British artisan foods. Mason specialises in showcasing British artisan cheeses and matching them to complementary beverages. She offers her advice on matching cheese and ale: “When matching ale with cheese, it is important to have contrast without clash. There must be some similarities between the two in order to create a complement on the palette rather than an overwhelming collision of flavours”. She suggests some general pairing guidelines to help in matching the ideal cheese with the perfect ale. Bloomy rind cheeses, such as Sussex Brie and Tunworth from Hampshire, work very well with Pilsner-style beers. Their velvety, rich texture, featuring mushroom and earthy flavours, can easily be overwhelmed by ales that are too ‘hoppy’. Pale lagers, such as European-style Pilsners, offer a mild flavour with good foam, vantagepointmag.co.uk

VantagePoint Magazine May 2014 - Godalming & Cranleigh  

The local magazine produced by local people for the local community

VantagePoint Magazine May 2014 - Godalming & Cranleigh  

The local magazine produced by local people for the local community

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