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Issue 20 - A taste of Ireland

Whisky Magazine Issue 20
December 2001

 

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A taste of Ireland

Martine Nouet heads into the little-charted waters of cooking with Irish whiskey, combining traditional Gaelic fare with some arguably controversial choices of spirit. Three tantalising courses, five fine whiskeys and one full stomach!

Irish and Scottish foods have a lot in common. Same country-based roots, similar ingredients and cooking methods and, to say the least, very few recipes using whisky, even with that added ‘e' … As with Scottish recipes, I came back empty-handed when I started fishing for traditional recipes including whiskey in Ireland. However, I succeeded in finding at least one interesting book (see page 74).

Instead of feeling despondent about such a neglected practice, I decided to attack it the usual way. Convinced that Irish whiskey could perform far beyond Irish coffee, I tasted as many whiskeys as I could in two weeks – you wouldn't believe the absorption power of a well-trained nose! I selected my favourites and started experimenting in the kitchen, guided only by my tasting notes.

I essentially worked with five whiskeys: two malts and three blends. Two of my favourites – Tyrconnell and Paddy – have been poorly scored and labelled inconsistent by certain tasters in this fine publication, but their flavours and notes are ideally suited to cooking. More popular and highly regarded whiskies might drown or create culinary conflict between more subtle flavours.

In Tyrconnell, I like the pure, clear, fruity style which I associate with light dishes such as a fruit salad or poached pears (one of the key notes being pear drop). Paddy might be not as rich as some other Irish blends, but its warm smoothness cheered by vanilla and toasted nuttiness offers a perfect complement to...

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