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Issue 97 - Techniques to Know

Whisky Magazine Issue 97
July 2011


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Techniques to Know

Martine Nouet takes us though another set of do and don'ts for whisky pairings

Following our exploration of the good principles and the errors to avoid in the food and whisky matching and cooking game (see WM95 for the first part), we will now examine some the techniques. In the first part, we listed the best ingredients we can use to concoct a whisky menu.
This is the first step and an essential one. But if the ingredients are not cooked appropriately, especially when whisky is added to the dish, your guests (and yourself) will be disappointed.
I have recently attended a “cooking with whisky demonstration” by a couple who own a restaurant in Scotland. They had a selection of fine local ingredients, including crab, langoustines, scallops, venison and a fine range of an excellent malt from one Islay distillery.
There was nothing wrong with the dishes they had selected but the way they cooked and the reasons they gave for having chosen that particular age, bottling, cask maturation for each recipe were far from being convincing.
They started their demonstration by stating that the most important in cooking with whisky is the food. Whisky only comes as a flavour enhancer. Just as well they did not see the face I made at this statement!
My thoughts are totally the opposite. I always start with whisky and more precisely from my tasting notes, looking at the aromatic delivery, the texture and picking the key aromas to use them as the matching anchorage point. But I would not say that food acts as a flavour enhancer for the whisky. It is much more intricat...

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