The Bignose & Beardy and High Weald Dairy Cider and Cheese Tasting Box
Our first pairing event matched our ciders to cheeses produced the The High Weald Diary. A wonderful combination, grab yourself a box and taste along with our video and tasting notes.
We recorded a live taste-along event on November 27th 2020 - you can watch it below.
We’ll talk you through the pairing, exploring the different combinations as well as sharing how we make the products and the histories of the Cidery and Dairy.
How to set up your tasting
Please store your cheese in the fridge on receipt. The cider is also good chilled, though not too cold. We recommend getting the cheese out of the fridge and remove from packaging 1hr before, to bring it up to room temperature in good time for the tasting. Lay out the cheeses on a board so that everyone can reach them or prepare slices on a plate for each person. You’ll also want a glass each for tasting the ciders and perhaps a glass of water in case you want to cleanse your palate. If anyone will be driving after the event please don’t swallow the Cider, only use it to taste and dispense in a different container after. You might want to make notes as you go, so a pen and paper might be handy. Don’t forget a bottle opener and cheese knife.
How to do the tasting
We recommend picking a cider and tasting each of the cheeses with it in turn before trying the next one. It’s great fun to explore how the ciders and cheeses each affect how the other tastes. Every now and again you’ll find a striking combination that seems to bring out the best in the cider and the cheese. In this selection we’ve made sure there are several compatible combinations.
The Cheeses from High Weald Dairy
Making a wide range of award-winning cow, sheep and goat milk cheeses on their family-owned farm in the beautiful West Sussex countryside. Their small team of cheesemakers work in a modern dairy in the farm’s former grain store with every part of the cheese-making process from pasteurisation to packaging completed at the dairy.
The result is a range of cheeses of which they are very proud, from the sheep-milk halloumi cheese that launched the business in the 1980s to the ever-popular Brighton BlueⓇ which you’ll find in delicatessens and farm shops across Sussex and beyond. They produce both organic and non-organic varieties and all are suitable for vegetarians.
A mild, semi-soft cheese with a mellow blue flavour and a slightly salty finish. The blue green veins deepen as the cheese matures, and the taste of the blue strengthens. It has an attractive natural edible rind and has won numerous awards including a Super Gold at the World Cheese Awards 2018-2019.
Saint Giles is a continental-style, semi-soft creamy cheese, similar to the Saint Paulin/Port Salut style of cheese. It has a rich, buttery texture and a creamy mild flavour. There is also an organic variety which has a stunning edible orange rind, made using organic carrot.
Sister Sarah Goat milk cheese
Sister Sarah is a semi-soft goats’ milk cheese. It is matured for just 8-12 weeks. The cheese is very white because the goats digest all the carotene in the grass. It is a mild cheese, with a light and delicious flavour and without any of the ‘goatiness’ which is often associated with a goat cheese. The cheese is coated in annatto (a south American berry) to create the orange colour.
Seven Sisters Sheep’s Milk
Named after the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs in East Sussex, our most recent cheese is a semi-soft matured sheep milk cheese, coated in a layer of Hebridean seaweed. As well as looking interesting, Seven Sisters has a light nuttiness to it and the seaweed coat makes it very difficult to resist. An organic variety is also available.
The Ciders from Bignose & Beardy
We have four ciders for you to try: a dry, two mediums and a medium sweet. Those designations can seem quite reductive. There’s actually a lot of different stuff going on between these four examples than the traditional dry/medium/sweet might imply, much as there is more to a wine than whether it is red, white or rose.
Ours is an Eastern Counties or modern style cider using a blend of eating apples and cooking apples. Some of our batches have cider apples too. Our ciders are typically acidic or sharp in style, clean and crisp, lots of rich floral notes, light and refreshing. You’ll get a big hit in the front of your mouth and where we have used cider fruit a longer finish at the back of your mouth and throat.
Our cider is different from others in that it is very long matured. Other makers will fast ferment with commercial yeasts after chemically killing the natural yeasts. They’ll sometimes add sugar to create a liquor up to 14% ABV. Then they’ll dilute with water or apple juice or other fruit juices to create appealing sweetness that masks the real cider flavours. We don’t do any of that.
Cockhaisy (2018) dry cider 6.8%
Pure Eastern Counties, it is light in colour, crystal clear naturally without filtering. It has light floral tones in the nose, pleasing appleskin notes. It provides a sharp acidic hit in the front of your mouth without too much astringency, it’s beautifully crisp, clean and refreshing with light apple fruit flavour and a fairly short finish. Cockhaisy is positively wine like in its presentation. It’s hugely satisfying that this is an entirely unmolested product: from pressing to bottling we have not interfered at all with the natural processes at work. All we did was give it time. The apples come from an old private orchard at Cockhaise Mill Farm. Owned by Roger and Cathy.
A Bit of OMFF (2018) medium cider 7%
A hodgepodge of apples swapped for cider from orchards and gardens around the village. Picked and pressed with friends. We've no idea which varieties go into this, yet every year OMFF echo's previous batches. Smooth, full flavoured with clean acid tones. It’s a rich amber colour with lots of wonderful fruitiness in the nose. A good finish even without the presence of heavy tannins. It’s light and merrily refreshing, perfect on a warm day especially served as a spritzer with sparkling water and lots of ice. Our signature cider. Dedicated to our children; Oscar, Margot, Felix and Freddie.
Green Man (2018) medium cider 6.5%
We took John O Prince, and Spartans from Greenway Farm just down the road and mixed them with Cookers from Mick Scrace’s reclaimed orchard. The result is a light, clean, green appley cider that has softened delightfully with age. This has no cider fruit so has a shorter finish, though its still well balanced and incredibly refreshing. Look out for floral fruity notes.
Terrible Shepherd (2018) medium cider 6.9%
A shepherd strength mix of Dabinet and Michelin from Quarry Farm at Battle, with Cox, Spartan and Bramley from Little Shepherds, along with a number of varieties from Terrible Down Barn. Picked late in the autumn sunshine, we’d almost missed the cider fruit: we got it so late it was pretty soft and pulpy. Yet it’s still given a rich tannin depth and mouth feel to balance a clean acidity, the whole thing rounded off by an interesting smokiness.