Thursday 18 August 2011

Whiskey and cheese diplomacy

Sticking with the cheese theme for a little longer, Bord Bia (the Irish food promotion agency) recently organised an Irish whiskey & cheese evening at our embassy in Washington DC. Both of these products are excellent ambassadors for Irish quality and sophistication so I love to hear about them getting a showcase in one of our missions abroad.

Thanks to Maeve and Breige in Bord Bia, I can list here the pairings offered up in DC:

  • Gleann Óir (cheese) with Greenore (whiskey)
    That's a semi-soft goat's cheese with a light grain whiskey. Given how similar their names sound, it would be a tragedy for the poets if they didn't go well together.
  • Ardrahan (cheese) with Kilbeggan (whiskey)
    Ardrahan is a semi-soft, pungent cheese, while Kilbeggan is a blended whiskey with quite a sharp, distinctive flavour.
  • Darú (cheese) with Tyrconnell (whiskey)
    Darú is a semi-hard cow's milk cheese, while Tyconnell is Cooley's entry-level unpeated single malt.
  • Cashel Blue (cheese) with Connemara (whiskey)
    This is the classic whiskey & cheese combination: blue cheese with peated whiskey. It can't miss.

They also suggested trying the Kilbeggan with the Cashel Blue, and the Tyrconnell with the Ardrahan. And, if craft beer is your thing: O'Hara's Irish Red paired with Cooleeney cheese and O'Hara's Irish Stout with Irish cheddar.

Bord Bia has also produced a magnificent guide to Irish farmhouse cheeses which is free on their website. Whiskey & cheese matching is a young discipline and the guide indicates the enormous territory yet to be mapped by whiskey explorers.