My latest Whisky & Cheese paring event was a huge hit. I first promoted this perfect marriage 15 years ago with the sole intention of trying something different to increase single malt whisky awareness. Years later, I realized there are many reasons on why indeed the two work so well together.
Have you ever sat down with a variety of cheeses and wine and really found good partners? Maybe its not really the cheese but rather what accompanies the cheeses. If you had fruit such as grapes or pineapple and nuts along with cheese it is probably the fruit & nuts rather than the cheese that works well with wine.
Single Malt Whisky & Cheese is perfect! Be daring – there are lots of malts and cheeses out there just waiting to be enjoyed. A great way to experiment is to invite friends around for an evening of sampling both whisky and cheese.
You will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The more you practice, the more perfect the balances you will find. Many malts can find a cheese partner, but some cheeses matches do stink (well, not literally).
You can almost always detect a fruit with a single malt whisky. Many cheeses today have infused fruits such as Wensleydale or Stilton. These varieties work particularly well with malts that have matured or spent time in a sherry cask.
Fruits such as mangos, dates, figs and Seville oranges. Speysiders tend to have hints of soft fruits such as a pear or apple which one can find in many cheeses.
Non-Chill filtered (NCF) whiskies contain fatty acids, proteins and esters; therefore, they can breakthrough any cheese that is also high in acids much easier than chill filtered whiskies that range from 40-43% alcohol.
NCF malts will be 46% or higher with far more texture and oiliness to pair perfectly with soft and medium cheeses.
Cheese contains lactic acid which helps generate flavours during ripening and helps preserve the cheese.
Hard, grating Italian cheese such as Parmesan, Romano and Asiago, provides complex flavour profiles ranging from aromatic dairy to sweet and nutty and finally a savory background note.
Additionally, the Romano type cheeses also deliver bold, sharp and piquant background notes. Lighter single malts pair better with hard cheeses.
My next post will be the pairings from the whisky & cheese event last Wednesday.