It was just a couple weeks ago that during a tremendous dinner and a nice dram (of course) at restaurant Auguste the idea arose to do something with whisky and food pairing. There is not much happening in the Eindhoven region when it comes to whisky, and that is something we wanted to change. Yes, there are tastings now and then at the local liquor store, and yes there is a small festival, but that was about it.
The idea was to create a whisky menu; A four course meal with a matching whisky. Not an easy task to pair whisky with food, but Rolf (owner and chef of Auguste) wanted to take on the challenge. After that evening at the restaurant and a good night sleep, we were all still enthoustiastic about it. So I started to select the whiskies and Rolf presented a first idea of how the menu should look like, based on my tasting notes.

How we paired the whisky and food

With limited budget (we didn’t want the menu to be too expensive) and not a clue of what kind of people would attend to such a tasting, I started to select the whiskies. It had to be different brands and different types of whisky. One matured on ex-bourbon casks, one on ex-sherry casks, a mixture of both and a peated whisky too. A journey of discovery.
 
A week later it was time for the general rehearsal, the actual tasting of the food in combination with the whiskies. And while the first course was spot on, it became harder with the second and the third course. But Rolf, creative as he is, soon came up with another idea and that worked really well. For the dessert I made the mistake to choose a cask strength, that was way to heavy to pair with food. But another whisky was chosen and the menu was ready!

Whisky and food pairing at Auguste

Whisky and food pairing at Auguste

While we didn’t expect it (it was the first time after all), the event was almost sold out. The main reason for that was that none of the participants were familiar with this concept. And were therefore very curious whether it was even possible to pair whisky and food. 

The first course immediately set the tone for the rest of the evening. The light and sweet Balblair paired perfectly with the smoked salmon and the two different dressings. The soy dressing matched very well with the whisky itself, but the dashi dressing also changed the palate of the Balblair. It became more spicy and rich. 

And so it went with the other courses too, the food either matched with the whisky or it picked up some of the flavours of the whisky. The fun part; everyone seemed to have a different favourite course. Ultimately, it’s all just a matter of personal taste.

My personal highlight, besides the first course, was the dessert (and no that’s not because I am a chocolate addict ;-)). This dessert managed to pick up the citrus flavours in the Ardbeg. A great combination with the sweetness of the chocolate.

Whisky and food pairing

It became a wonderful evening full with new experiences. Everyone was pleasantly surprised how well whisky can match with food. And that was just what we wanted to create. Mission accomplished!

Many thanks to Rolf and his team for the exquisite food and all the effort that was done. It couldn’t be any better.

To be continued…