A growing trend we have seen in the industry over the years is food and drinks pairings. But I must say pairing whisky with your meal is no small feat as you’ll need to assess its flavour characteristics; Is it smoky, citrusy, sweet or spicy?
This week I attended the Glenmorangie whisky and food pairing dinner at Big Easy Winebar and Grill by Ernie Els and I was taken on a journey of single malt perfection. Chef Noel Kanyemba of the Big Easy Winebar and Grill created four beautiful dishes which were each paired with a selection of Glenmorangie whisky.
The first course we had was kabeljou brandade with toasted sour dough wafer, pickled fennel bulb and orange segments paired with Glenmorangie 10 years original. The Glenmorangie original is distilled twice in the tallest stills in Scotland and is lighter in body making it the perfect pairing to any light dish such as this one. It did not overpower the kabeljou and works with dishes with hints of orange.
Second course meal ws seared ostrich with crunchy nut, arugula, pomegranate emulsion, sweet red radish, parmesan and crispy beets paired with Glenmorangie 12 years Lasanta.
Glenmorangie Lasanta is a full-bodied single malt whisky that has been matured in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks after a minimum of 10 years in ex-bourbon casks. It paired well with this dish as it is known to be a natural pairing for sweeter sauces and the spicy notes of the whisky held up strongly to the meat.
Out third course was grilled lamb loin with lamb shoulder bon bon, lemon sabayon, ragu of lamb tongue, celeriac crème, and button mushrooms paired with the Glenmorangie 12 year Quinta Ruban. The whisky offers smooth a complex balance of sweet and dry flavours making it a good pairing for any lam dish. It’s crispy with cooling textures.
And the last dish which was the dessert was coffee panna cotta with chared apricot, dark chocolate sponge, caramel crème and coffee granite paired with the Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or. The Nectar D’Or is extra matured in rare Sauternes wine barriques (barrels) from France. It is rich and goes well with a sweet ingredient.
One thing i also learnt from the dinner was that you can have the single malt neat, with a lightest splash of water. This allows the aromatic complexities to shine through and makes it easier to achieve a food and whisky balance.