Dear husband’s birthdays have frequently been legen……..wait for it……dary. Last year was a massive party for he and Mini-ion #1. When we lived at a house on a lake, we had an ice skating party (where my future brother-in-law insisted on stealing the show by breaking his arm) complete with bonfire and ridiculous amounts of comfort foods. We’ve closed many a bar (when we weren’t encouraged to leave, or a member of our group was encouraged to leave, again, after he snuck back in and changed shirts with someone else). We’ve hailed limos to whisk us from one place of debauchery to another. We’ve just had good times.
Dear husband, though, starts to feel a little embarrassed by the fun that his parties have become. And, with saving right now to buy a car (not to mention a cleaning service….oh, that’s just me), we knew this year couldn’t be a party, but just a birthday dinner. But I still wanted to add a degree of specialness – so why not a Scotch Pairing dinner.
This turned out to be a lot harder to work out than I thought it would be. The majority of my information was found on this site – Matching Food and Wine. Fiona is truly a tremendous resource on flavor and helped significantly in pairing the food with different scotches.
The way I went about it was choosing a Scotch from each region. There are five single malt regions of Scotland: The Lowlands, The Highlands, Speyside, Islay and Cambeltown. As Cambeltown is down to only three distilleries (and they weren’t easily accessible) we stuck with the four more prominent regions, Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside and Islay. I also kept to young Scotches to have a more even comparison and to not break the bank.
Here is the menu of Scotch and food:
Appetizer – Dalwhinnie 15 year served with a selection of cheeses (bleu, goat and monterey jack with honey wheat crackers and a drizzle of honey) and fruits (green grapes and dried apricots). Dalwhinnie was the Highland selection.
Soup – Glenkinchie 12 year served with Cockaleekie Soup. Glenkinchie was the Lowland selection.
Dinner – Cragganmore 12 year served with Braised short ribs with fingerling potatoes and roasted asparagus. Cragganmore was the Speyside selection.
Dessert – Ardbeg 10 year served with Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes. Ardbeg was the Islay selection.
Our finding? Cragganmore was a surprising new favorite. Cockaleekie Soup really brought out the best in the Glenkinchie. Ardbeg was very appropriately served last. It was a lot of fun.