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Need food suggestions for tasting event

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Need food suggestions for tasting event

Postby KiddushClub » Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:44 am

Hi --

Newbie here. We are part of a newly-formed 25-couple scotch drinkers group in West LA. Next week is our turn to host.

We're looking for menu ideas -- and suggestions on what to pair with them. Our only guideline is that this isn't going to be a sit-down meal, since we don't have a space big enough for it, so food needs to be "portable" (small plates, no 2-hand dishes).

Thanks in advance for your ideas!
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Meal with whisky

Postby Muskrat Portage » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:11 pm

Kiddushclub:
Welcome to the forum, lots of good advice and whisky wisdom from the posters.
25 couples is a pretty good sized group to feed. The tastings I host or arrange don't pair whisky with food so I can't help you there. We have a flight of 6 whiskies starting at 6:30 pm, after which we have a light repast. Generally I like to have one hot dish and a variety of cold items.

Some sort of prepackaged wings (NOT spicy hot wings!) heated either in the oven or a crockpot. You could instead have a variety of oriental style finger foods heated in the oven. We also have fresh buns, butter, and a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, fruits and vegetables with condiments like mustard, veggie dips along with a fresh pot of coffee. During the light meal I clean up and set up the second flight of 6. We kick in around 8:30 with the second flight of 6 and when finished sit back and enjoy a free pour from any of the candidates sampled or whatever the host trots out from his stash. The cold plates are ordered a day in advance and picked up at Safeway where we also get a couple of boxes of wings.

Hope that helps, I been doing this for 4 - 5 years and it's always well received, 'course it could just be the whisky offerings... Musky P.

Also, check out the FAQ section here in Questions and Answers, Jan has done a terrific job of organising it. This is one link for you to peruse:
http://www.whiskymag.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1703
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Postby Lawrence » Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:40 pm

I think that if you are doing a serious assessment of the whiskies on offer then you shouldn't serve any food at all, maybe a few oat cakes and some glasses of water to clean the palate between drams. Ice water is a no no because it chills the mouth, it's almost the same as adding ice to whisky.

There's a transference that occurs that makes most whiskies taste bitter after food and at that point you're sunk. Any foods with high fats like cheese butter etc coat the mouth and disrupt the tasting process.

On the other hand if you're going to have a social evening then it's a different ball game (so to speak) and then food and whisky can be a fun social evening.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:41 pm

I'm 100% with Lawrence on this one. By all means, have some water for those who like to add it to their malt. But save the food until after the whisky tasting has finished! Otherwise, what's the point. Half the subtle flavours will be masked by the grub.
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Meal with whisky

Postby Muskrat Portage » Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:17 pm

eelbrook wrote:I'm 100% with Lawrence on this one. By all means, have some water for those who like to add it to their malt. But save the food until after the whisky tasting has finished! Otherwise, what's the point. Half the subtle flavours will be masked by the grub.


I have to concur with Lawrence and Eelbrook to a certain extent, no food until after if it is a serious nosing and tasting. If it is a social event, as ours have become, there is a breaking of bread between flights, to allow for social conversation and dramming. In some cases it's supper, as some members come direct from work.

We have stopped using bread as a palate cleanser between drams as it has the same base ingredients. Haven't tried oat cakes, 'though. We cleanse with tumblers of water, plenty of it between samples, which has the added benefit of helping against gremlins the next morning. Musky P.
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:54 pm

I will disagree with most on this, if you want to serve food at your event try different cheeses, smoked salmon, smoked meats like venison, and some good quality chocolate.

See how the different items affect the taste of the whiskies. Have plenty of oat cakes and water around to cleanse the pallet between drinks.

Cheers

Paul
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Postby hpulley » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:31 pm

If you're having a serious tasting then there should be no food anywhere near the whisky, definitely not in the oven. Waiting until after might help your mouth but having lovely oven aromas wafting around ruins the nose for very serious nosing 'work'. I often smell butter in the nose of malts when there is cooking on, even if there is no butter involved.

If it is a social event then I agree that strong cheeses, smoked and other fish, flavourful meats, etc. go well with strong whiskies. For more delicate whiskies, more delicate cheeses can be used along with vegetables.

Give us the expected whiskies and we can suggest matchings.

Harry
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:55 pm

Buffalo wings ..... Mmmmm

I Seriously love buffalo wings with whiskey.. I know wierd..

Also Cheese and/or pickle and crackers go well.

However we are all different and there really are no set rules...

but as above no food till you finish tasting unless just out for a bit of socialising.
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Postby parvus » Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:04 am

As others have pointed out, if this is a 'serious' tasting of whisky, you're probably going to annoy people if you put out anything that gives off an aroma, especially hot wings and cheese, bleugh!

If it's a social dealie, perhaps some deli meats, and olives and filo pastry type things. Toast points and pate, perhaps?
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Whisky and food...

Postby Muskrat Portage » Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:56 am

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:Buffalo wings ..... Mmmmm
I Seriously love buffalo wings with whiskey.. I know wierd.

Actually, I did try hot wings (aka Buffalo wings) at the last tasting. Effectively destroyed what was left of my tastebuds and olfactory senses for the second flight. I've been to one "serious" tasting. :roll: No food just 14 whisky all blind tasting, with a mini pail at each seat to "spit in". I can't spit out good whisky, must be a flaw in my upbringing. My momma taught me to be polite and swallow whatever foodstuffs I placed in my mouth. M.P.
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Postby KiddushClub » Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:39 pm

Thanks, all, for the helpful input.

This is most definitely social; food is "buffet style", so those who wish to be more serious can be.

We've selected 3 whiskeys for the evening:

Ardbeg Uigeadail
Highland Park (18 y.o.)
Springbank (12 y.o., "regular" bottling - not the 175th or the rum wood)

Smoked salmon is definitely on the agenda; we were thinking about asking our favorite sushi chef to put together a platter for us too. Cheeses, veggies, etc., of course.

For an evening ender, we were thinking of home-made chocolate truffles.

Does anyone have any ideas for food (other than meats)?

Or for particular pairings of any of these whiskeys?

TIA.
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Postby old rarity » Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:07 pm

If I may make a suggestion to kiddushclub, you might draw inspiration from the impressive buffet table at the annual Gala of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. While bourbon is not malt whisky, it is another cereal-derived matured spirit and (when it comes to munching and sipping) not all that different from scotch in my opinion, plus after the first one or two, well, you know what I mean... At the KBF they have different cheese plates with crackers, including cheese balls softened with herbs and other spices; meatballs in a bourbon/barbecue sauce which is just superb; smoked fish tidbits, plus shrimp; crudites (raw vegetables like brocoli, cauliflower); various marinated salads; a baked cheese dish which is a kind of souffle which is really good; mushroom caps stuffed as I recall; also a teriaki and other beef preparations. Wings is a good idea but bear in mind a little messy to eat.

What malt whiskies will you serve?

Just as a kind of wild card, throw in a bourbon or two and see what people think. Use a good one though, say Rare Breed (the current WT-03B is drinking very nicely, or Knob Creek or Elmer T. Lee or Russell's Reserve). Or, a straight rye whiskey, say Sazerac 18 year old rye and there are a number of other good ones. Straight rye, not Canadian blended. Although there are good Canadian whiskies too, but that is a different kettle of fish and you don't want to muddle the focus overly.

Gary
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Postby rymon » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:54 pm

How did your tasting go?

I am a member of a small group in Brantford, ON, Canada.

We taste 3 whiskies once/month.

The presenters are always responsible not only for the whisky and accomp. info, but for a complementing food.

We always taste the food after the whiskies.

Some of the excellent pairings we've had are:

Scottish shortbread. Goes great with the fruitier whiskies.
Scottish highland oatcakes. Extremely dry, but an authentic match, and quite a complement!
Bacon wrapped scallops/waterchestnuts. Both are easy to prepare and have a wonderful flavour with a whisky.
Nuts. Any number of nuts can complement nicely.
Smoked salmon/other fish. An authentic pairing and goes nicely especially with Islay region/smokier whiskies.


Just some ideas,for you for next time.
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Postby Badmonkey » Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:53 am

Bacon-wrapped scallops? Damn, you guys do it with style.

Honestly, people, is there a dish on this planet that isn't improved with the addition of bacon, kosher dishes aside?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:37 am

I wanted to get back bacon for a Canadian whisky tasting event, but it was back ordered.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:42 pm

Ordering jokes aside, it really does seem that bacon makes it better! I made Jamie Oliver's Cheeky Christmas Turkey last holiday, draped in smoked back bacon and with leeks and red wine underneath and it was fantastic. Bacon wrapped asparagus takes a healthy vegetable and turns it into a tasty artery clogger but with all the whisky that accompanies my food, I doubt anything sticks ;) :P

Harry
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back ordered? seriously?

Postby rymon » Wed Mar 15, 2006 3:16 pm

The back bacon (or peameal as everyone around here calls it, since its rolled in peameal) is so easy to come by around here. i'm really surprised it would be that hard to find.

We try to keep things interesting... last month was exceptional!

The theme was "Whiskies from outside of the UK"

We tried two japanese, Yoichi 12yo and Suntory Hakushu 12yo, as well as a Canadian Single Malt that is available called Glen Breton.

Our food pairings were Sushi rolls, with assorted filling, as well as some Japanese sweet rice crackers, Wasabi covered peas, and some really great chocolate covered almonds.

Its interesting how the food brings out a completely different set of flavours!

By the way... i don't think there are very many things I wouldn't eat, if friend up in lots of butter with bacon and garlic ;)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:22 pm

hpulley wrote:Ordering jokes aside, it really does seem that bacon makes it better! I made Jamie Oliver's Cheeky Christmas Turkey last holiday, draped in smoked back bacon and with leeks and red wine underneath and it was fantastic. Bacon wrapped asparagus takes a healthy vegetable and turns it into a tasty artery clogger but with all the whisky that accompanies my food, I doubt anything sticks ;) :P

Harry


Well, they're fine for a private dinner, Harry, but I can't take leeks in public.

Oh, I have sunk so low lately! Bad, bad Mr Tattie Heid. :oops: :oops: :oops: Excuse me while I go thrash myself with a cedar switch. (Even I won't touch "I don't think there are very many things I wouldn't eat, if friend up in lots of butter.")
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Postby Miandi » Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:00 am

KiddushClub,

Where exactly in West LA are you? How did your event come out? When will you be having another one?

I'm in OC. Do you, or anyone else for that matter, know of any similar tasting clubs in OC? I've gone to a few liquor stores to pick up some bottles and asked the people behind the counter if they know of any local tasting clubs or events and they aren't aware of any.

Thanks
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