Saturday 26 May 2012

Irish food & whiskey pairings

As they did last year, Bord Bia staked out a patch at Whisky Live 2012 to ply us with the best Irish foods, carefully matched with particular Irish whiskeys.

I remarked recently on the synergy of food and drink marketing abroad and, of course, Bord Bia is all over that. There was the whiskey & cheese diplomacy at our Washington embassy, for example, and a dinner for journalists at Whisky Live Paris, pairing whiskeys with each course.

The foodie revolution in Ireland is new enough that we're still discovering the wonderful products available from our own island so Bord Bia's stand at the Mansion House was guaranteed enthusiastic attention.

The matches deliberately touched on all the whiskey styles available in Ireland:
  • single pot still / single malt / single grain / blend
  • double distilled / triple distilled
  • peated / unpeated.
I don't think there is a science to figuring out a good match. You can use tasting notes to whittle down the possibilities and choose to complement or contrast flavour components. A quicker way is to taste the food item with a few diverse whiskeys and then zero in on the style that seems to suit best. The quickest way is to select one of the amuse-bouches presented by Ronan Gillespie and Cathryn Hargan at Whisky Live, and listed below.

The most popular were the lamb and duck pairings, both of which were first class tickets to Flavourtown (I've been watching Guy Fieri on The Food Network). The whole menu looked like this:
McGeough's air-dried lamb