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Issue 12 - The 40 degree proof is in the pudding

Whisky Magazine Issue 12
November 2000


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The 40 degree proof is in the pudding

A freelance writer devoted to whisky, Martine Nouet is also a keen advocate of malt whisky dinners. She runs 'cooking with malt whisky' classes in Paris and wants to promote the blending of whisky with fine food.

Being a frequent traveller to Scotland and always on the look-out for the most charming B & B or country house hotels with genuine Scottish fare, I am always surprised to notice a lack of dishes cooked with whisky on the menus. It is a fact that, apart a few traditional delights like cranachan or haggis laced with a generous dash of whisky, Scottish Cookery books do not promote the use of whisky in the
preparation of food.

When you really think about it, it is the same in France with wine. Except great classics such as coq au vin or boeuf bourguignon, there are not many French dishes using wine. A gourmet foreigner dining in a French restaurant could be surprised in the same way as I am in Scotland. The general idea which prevails among people reluctant to use wine or spirits in cooking is
that you should not ‘waste' a good drink in a sauce. Their verdict on a poor whisky or cognac would be ‘it's not drinkable and should be kept for cooking'.

And this is why in France you will always find flasks of cheap port, madeira, brandy or whisky specially bottled for cooking. Personally, I would not even use these alcoholic solutions to clean my windows.

Whisky, from the glass to the plate
Single malt whisky is my companion in the kitchen - though don't come to the conclusion that I drink whisky when I cook! It's not about adding any malt whisky to any dish, cooking is a complex chemistry in which aromas and tastes interlace for the best. Or the worst.

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