Today we're talking about whisky and food combinations.
If you want to try a whisky and food pairing with some spectacular single malts, fantastic food and music, join me at HQ Restaurant on Wednesday the 18th October. R 295 a head for a welcome cocktail, single malt whiskies and a 3 course meal.
But first, some background. It has to do with relationships. Yes, those complex human interactions have spawned advice from newspapers, magazines, and the internet, offering suggestions on how to find a mate, how to be happy with the chosen one and what to do when there is a bit of strife at home.
Here's the best bit of advice you've ever heard: Whisky and Chocolate.
It's a miracle combination, proven to start, continue and fix relationships. Try it - you'll thank me later.
But before we get into the how and when to use it, let's lick our lips and explore the world of whisky and food combinations.
Like food and wine pairing, there are general rules, and like food and wine pairing, some great discoveries happen when you break the rules. Pick up a glass of whisky and choose a few flavours and aromas that jump out at you. Perhaps the predominant characteristics are sweetness, maybe there is a lot of smoke, or citrus fruits.
The rule is to look for foods with the same characteristics. The spirit and the food will enhance each other. Try a fruity whisky with a tropical fruit salad, a smoky Islay with crispy bacon and a sweet whisky with a koeksister.
Then break the rules - swap them around – sometimes you want the contrasting flavours for a different flavour dimension.
There are some classics that I recommend, guaranteed to create magic in the mouth moments. Sushi with most whiskies, except the very sweet. For the best experience, try the Japanese whisky selection and spectacular Sushi at Kyoto Gardens, or your local Sushi restaurant with a decent whisky list. Oysters and Talisker is the perfect smoke and salt combination (best enjoyed on a yacht, if you have one available). Red wine and Steak? Sure. But what about going to Nelson's Eye in the Gardens for a Steak with a Glen Grant 12.
Invite a few friends to your home, ask everyone to bring a couple of cheeses, mild to strong (please support the local producers) and experiment with different whiskies, floral to peat monsters, Glenkinchie to Octomore, and most other whiskies. It's a fun way to spend the day.
At a braai, break from the South African tradition of men and women gathering in separate groups. Braai some Snoek & Apricot Jam, with lamb chops and boerweors, sit around a table and sample different whiskies.
Three Ships Bourbon Cask, Dubliner, (the new Irish Whiskey); Glenmorangie Original; Glenfiddich 15 & Lagavulin 16 should see you through until dessert. Try Melktert and Apple Pie with Ice cream with Glen Grant The Major's Reserve or Glenlivet 12.
Life isn't complete without Haggis and Whisky, preceded by Alan Shuman's rendition of Robert Burns' poem in honour of the Haggis, performed with bagpipes and a large sword. Kilts are optional. You’d love to come to a dinner where we do this. Drop me an email. We'll make a plan.
Back to relationships, Whisky and Chocolate. Take two Champagne flutes and put them in the fridge. Take a bottle of whisky and put it in the freezer. Buy some dark chocolate. Wait three ays, or longer. If there are kids, make sure they are asleep. At the appropriate time, such as when you are in trouble and need to fix the relationship; or on the third date; or when you want to celebrate your anniversary; or are in the mood for romance for the sake of romance, take chilled champagne flutes from the fridge, pour the now silky whisky into the glasses, break off a piece of dark chocolate and offer the whisky and chocolate to your chosen one.
Together, take a bite of the chocolate, a sip of the whisky and.
Chat next week;) Follow me at @bernardgwhisky or email [email protected]