Guest Blog: Pairing whisky and food

Last week I saw a request on Social Media from Nocturnal Wenchy asking for female guest bloggers for her blog during the month of August.  I have been following her and her journey for a long time, and I knew I wanted to be part of this special initiative.  I was unsure what to submit as I usually write about whisky, but in the end, I decided to write what I am passionate about, whisky and food pairings.

Many weekends you will find me (and the hubby) relaxing on the patio with a braai going or inside with the delicious smell of stew in the slow cooker drifting through the house.  While the food is cooking, I usually stroll over to our whisky collection and look for something fun to pair with the food.  And of course to sip on while we wait.

It is always lots of fun looking at the food and trying to find a whisky that will match the dish. Pairing wine with food is well accepted.  Red wine is usually paired with red meat and white wine with fish and seafood dishes. But what about whisky and food? Can you have a glass of whisky with your dinner and if so, what?

More and more people are experimenting with whisky. Luckily you don’t have to separate your glass of whisky from the dinner table.  Whisky and food pair brilliantly together.

When pairing food with whisky, you need to look for a balance.  The characteristics of the food need to compliment the notes of the whisky.  Lighter, less spicy dishes such as sushi would pair with lighter, softer drams.  Strong spicy food pair well with heavier whiskies.  Smoked food pair well with smoky whisky. Strong earth cheese, pair well with peaty whiskies.

Here are a few of the easiest whisky food pairing suggestions that you can try this weekend.

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Are you eating fish, seafood or fruit-based desserts?  Then the sweeter or more floral whiskies will work well.  A baked pear works brilliantly with the Glenfiddich 12 yo.  A chocolate brownie will pair perfectly with a Dalwhinnie.  Do you have some brie or camembert cheese and want to pair it with whisky?  Softer mild cheese pair beautifully with the whisky Bain’s Cape Mountain, an award-winning grain whisky from the Western Cape.

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Are you looking for something to pair with your steak, chicken or your stew?  Medium-bodied whiskies aged in Sherry, Rum or Cognac casks work well.  Even Bourbon will work nicely with steak or chicken.  Or try pairing a Glenfarclas 12 yo whisky with some Red Leicester cheese.

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Do you have a bit of Blue or Stilton cheese?  The best dram to serve with this strong-flavoured cheese is one of the peaty releases from Islay.  A Laphroaig whisky and Stilton cheese is heaven on a plate.  Serving some smoked lamb for dinner?  Then grab the bottle of Ardbeg 10 yo for a perfect match.  Oysters work wonderfully with a Caol Ila whisky.

But you don’t just have to sip the whisky with your food.  Cooking with whisky is also fun.  I used some Bain’s whisky in a grown-up boozy apple pie dessert that I made some time ago.  It was delicious and warming and perfect for winter.  The key is to experiment and have fun.


 

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I live in Centurion and on my blog Whisky of the Week where you will find tasting notes for over 300 whiskies.  There is also a variety of whisky and food pairing suggestions as well as fun easy cocktail recipes and some grown-up boozy desserts.

You can follow me on Twitter as @WhiskyoftheWeek or on Facebook as @WhiskyoftheWeek or on IG as @WhiskyoftheWeek

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