Whisky Magazine Issue 118
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There is a whole world of nuts out there
By accident of calendar, I recently had two encounters with nuts or more precisely cobnuts, which are a type of cultivated hazelnut. I first discovered them in a sausage as I was scanning Borough Market in search of some original food to pair with whisky.
I tasted a cobnut sausage from Cannon and Cannon. A succulent charcuterie with an appealing spicy rusticity which I paired with Kilchoman Machir Bay. Perfectly seasonal and bringing out farm-like flavours of hay and smoky straw.
My second encounter happened a few days later as I was visiting a friend in Kent. He took me to visit a cobnut and walnut farm in the small village of St Mary's Platt. There I met Alexander Hunt who had me taste cobnuts, walnuts and the derived products he has local bakers make for him.
That visit revived my nut inspired experiments with whisky.
Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and pine nuts are an easy bridge to combine flavours.
Here are a few ideas:
Use them with spices and crushed oatcakes to make a crust before roasting meat (especially lamb) or fish (salmon). On the sweet side, I always add chopped nuts to my crumble (with butter, flour, sugar and oatmeal). It gives a lovely crunchy texture. It is important to gently toast the nuts before using them. To be paired with fruity and nutty single malts like Aberfeldy (did you notice the squirrel on the label?), Glen Garioch or Ben Nevis for instance.
They give a great flavour and texture in stuffing...