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Food for a whisky tasting

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Food for a whisky tasting

Postby peter_964rs » Wed Oct 20, 2004 4:28 pm

Friends of mine have organised a Whisky tasting this weekend, which I'm sure will be great fun! Basically a bunch of blokes bringing whatever bottles are in their larders so we can compare.....

However, we'll also need to eat. Any suggestions on what we should have? A bunch of blokes with big appetites can't subsist on Doritos alone, and after a lot of tasting I think the munchies would strike; snack foods like Doritos would ruin the flavour :D
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Postby Admiral » Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:51 pm

If any of the whiskies you're having come from Islay, then you can't go wrong with some seafood tidbits, i.e, oysters and
prawns (that's shrimp for our American colleagues!).

My advice would be to simply avoid foods that are falsely flavoured with additives and stick to food that has natural flavour.

Cheers,
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Postby peter_964rs » Thu Oct 21, 2004 8:35 am

Ok, I was thinking along the lines of smoked salmon, bits of haggis, oatcakes & cheese, sort of evoking Scotland without necessarily being Scottish (various tapas are on the cards, for example) but was worried about the smokiness of the salmon shifting the natural smoke or peat flavours of the whisky; or the acidity and pungency of the cheese possibly affecting smothness, and so on.
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Postby Admiral » Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:34 am

I would have thought these things would complement the whiskies, rather than combat them. I think you're on the right track. :)

Cheers,
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Postby SasquatchMan » Thu Oct 21, 2004 3:41 pm

I agree with Admiral... I was thinking crab pasties or something.... whatever you do, don't make anything spicy. It just destroys all ability to taste whisky.
Water on hand is a good idea, and something like oatcakes as a neutral palate cleansing kind of food is also a good idea.
That said, my favorite food with whisky is hamburgers, so maybe don't listen to me...
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Postby bond » Sat Oct 23, 2004 10:40 am

Would second Admiral on the oysters. Go very well with the Islays. Some of the less spicy japanese prawn preparations complement malt whisky very well.

I would however suggest big-eaters line their stomachs before the tasting and not really let food interefere the tastings. Nothing quite like complementing whisky with more whisky.
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Postby hpulley » Sat Oct 23, 2004 12:57 pm

For a serious tasting, no food other than plain, unsalted crackers or plain white bread. Anything else will spoil you. And no perfumes or aftershaves worn either ;)

For a fun tasting, enjoy both the food and the whisky and don't worry too much about the interactions, or have the whisky first and the food last. Islay is best with seafood but not essential. Food and whisky matching is a whole different ballgame and while good will not really allow you to appreciate the whiskies properly.

Since people are bringing their own bottles, planning of the dinner to match will be impossible so just make what food you think they'll like and enjoy yourselves!

Harry
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Postby peter_964rs » Mon Oct 25, 2004 4:48 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions.

As luck would have it we settled on fruit cake, (mildly) smoked salmon, french bread and some mild cheeses with plenty of water to cleanse the palate. Tasting paused for the food and resumed afterwards. We spent three or four hours trying about fifteen different whiskys (note: just small puddles of each!) using tasting notes sheets and also doing some blind tasting. After which I decided tasting wasn't keeping to strict scientific method and my head was starting to throb.

Very pleased that, in blind tasting four different Glenfiddichs, I ranked them in the order in which one would expect them to be marked: 12yr, 15yr, "Special old reserve" and 18yr old.

Most popular were Aberlour, Dalwhinnie 15yr and Lagavulin special reserve; least popular was Jim Beam by a country mile :) Well, one needs to set the boundaries!
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