I tried a simple Google search for cheese and cider the other day. The top results of my search was a cheese fondue with cider.
I’ve made a few cheese fondues before. Most of them contain dry sherry and dry white wine with a lot of mild melting cheeses like Gruyère and Emmentaler along with a little bit of sharper flavorful cheeses like parmesan. The sherry, dry white wine, and parmesan give it a sharp flavor. So it makes sense to replace at least the dry white wine with a dry apple cider, and the parmesan with cheddar cheese. Maybe even replace the sherry with apple brandy. Hmm.
Admittedly, over the years, I quit making fondue from scratch, as it can take awhile to get the right consistency. A local German restaurant called the Rheinlander has a fondue, whose recipe is apparently not a secret as it was on the local TV in 2004, which they bottle. I find it in the cheese section of the deli in a pint sized jar. I keep one in the back of my fridge for company, in which case I take out and put in a little dipping crock pot. Easy as that. I should try that fondue with a slightly sweet cider to cut though all the sharpness.
The fondue cookbook I have had for years had a simpler recipe, so I decided to give it a try. It called for 2 TBS of lemon juice, 2 cups of hard dry cider, 1 lb 9 oz of shredded cheddar cheese, and 2 TBS of corn starch. The lemon juice and cider are heated, and the cheddar is slowly added as it melts. Cheddar is not really a melting cheese, or rather, it melts, but a lot of oil separates out. Adding corn starch at the end did away with the separating and made the whole thing consistent. It suggested using bread, apples, ham, and pineapple as dippers, all of which were very good. I tried sugar snap peas, but gave up on that. I served it with Red Barn semi-dry Jonagold Cider, but that was a bit of a mistake. Great cider, but the fondue ended up having a slightly sweet taste, and the semi-dry cider did not cut through to be refreshing, nor did it compliment the fondue as a sweet cider might have. Next time, I would go either for a dry cider, or a sweet cider.