Whisky Magazine Issue 18
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Martine Nouet couldn't wait to take up Aberlour's challenge of creating a whisky inspired menu for a dinner at the distillery during the Speyside Festival. Here she details what she came up with and her reasons for doing so
What better place could a food and spirits writer dream of hosting a malt whisky dinner than a distillery? The idea was mooted in Paris by Ann Miller, Aberlour Brand Ambassador, at a gourmet food exhibition: why not propose the Aberlour Distillery Whisky Dinner as a food and whisky event at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in May? I grabbed my spatula, pans, nosing glass and apron without a second thought!
The dinner was challenging in more ways than one. I had set up numerous menus with just one single malt, menus with a different single malt with each dish but I had never thought about a menu with different expressions of one particular single malt. The immediate difficulty here is being able to emphasise the particular character of each version so as to choose the perfect combination of ingredients and have “a whole circus of aromas” (my favourite phrase!).
This was the first event to be held in the Fleming rooms, Aberlour's new VIP reception area. It was a bit like exploring a virgin land ... with all the modern facilities! A well-equipped kitchen, a superbly decorated lounge and dining area, all designed to make you feel at home. The malt whisky dinner was brilliantly prepared by Penny Neep, chef and owner of the Dowans Hotel, and was a first experience for many of the guests. As they all agreed to come back next year, I concluded they had enjoyed it and survived unharmed!
The idea of starting the dinner with a soup seemed very Scottish to me. It had to be c...