‘Wine and cheese’, the celebrated pairing when it comes to pre-dinner staple at an evening with friends, is now giving way to a new kid on the block, ‘whisky and cheese’. Here are some tips on how to get it right.
A niche pairing so far, whisky and cheese is becoming increasingly popular among a growing number of enthusiasts. Just like wine, whisky’s flavours are pretty layered and can be complimented well with certain cuisines. The key principle is to achieve a balance between the two. And if you’re familiar with wine and cheese pairings, the same rule governing flavour and body applies here too.
So for all whisky lovers, here’s what we recommend.
Look for salt and fat content
Strong tasting whiskies go well with strong tasting cheese. Cheese with a high-fat content is best paired with whisky containing higher acidity quotient, to achieve the balance.
Choose only one or two cheese and whisky types
Do not go overboard with your cheese selection. Choose one or maybe two types of milk cheese (blue, goat, cow, or sheep) as a starter with whisky, or else you may complicate the palette. The same applies to whisky as well. Too many of them at the same dinner will make your cheese combination effort go awry.
Begin with the mildest combination
An ideal combination would be to choose classic malt with its subdued aroma and pair it with cheddar cheese, which makes for an ideal combination.
Here are some tried and tested combinations:
Smoked Whisky and Roquefort
The flavour of smoked whisky can be overwhelming and can overshadow the flavour of food items that are subtle. Cheese that possesses an equally strong flavour like Roquefort will go well with it. Matching intensities in flavours is the key here.
Smoked Whisky and Blue Cheese
The flavour of this cheese ranges from bitter and intense to musty and so is again best paired with smoky whiskies.
Peated Single Malt and Gouda
Gouda intensifies the rich bacon notes of the whisky, while its saltiness adds a sweet and salty tinge to the whisky flavour.
Peated Single Malt and Brie
Peated single malt becomes more palatable with Brie with its complex taste that helps extract its sweeter notes.
Speyside Single Malts and Camembert
This smooth whisky is best enjoyed with the smooth texture of Camembert where you will experience the subtle sweetness taking over your palette.
Highland Single Malt and Camembert
When paired with Camembert, the flavour of whisky changes quite dramatically. You will experience spicy notes becoming more and more prominent while the sweeter notes take a backseat.
Highland Single Malt and Gouda
Gouda adds more character to the whisky and brings about saltiness and nuttiness in the flavour. If you like your tipple more rich and intense, Gouda is the perfect accompaniment.
Bourbon and Cheddar
Aged in new charred oak barrels, bourbons have a strong woody influence but a sweeter profile, and it is best matched with aged cheddar.
Rye and Hard Cheese
It’s spicy and possesses an earthy character. So for rye lovers, hard cheese works spectacularly well, especially the ones with the crunchy salt crystals.
Blended whisky and Camembert
Camembert is soft and creamy when it ripens (it is bland and hard initially) from the outside towards the centre, when its flavour turns rich and buttery. So it is best paired with blended whisky that has a complex range of notes.
Now that you know, what are you waiting for? Sit back, relax, and grab your favorite bottle of whisky with some of that delectable cheese.
And stay tuned to LiveInStyle.com for more whisky and food pairing updates!