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Business News/ Mint-lounge / Indulge/  Whisky and cheese

Whisky and cheese

A snack dish, and smoky whisky with blue cheese are worth trying out, if you don't already like them already

Photo: iStockphotoPremium
Photo: iStockphoto

Cheese. Is. Just. Brilliant. Again, like whisky, it carries an incredibly wide flavour profile. From a soft, fluffy cheese such as Paneer, through to harder, crumbly cheese such as Kalimpong, and dark, veined cheese such as Stilton from the UK, there are plenty of options.

In the West, cheese is often used in cooking and also served on its own in the form of a cheeseboard, in place of a dessert. The myth behind this is that cheese provides the stomach with a fatty topping, after ingesting several courses of rich foods. The idea was that cheese countered the acidic nature of the stomach and eased the diner into the bar and onward to bed.

Personally, I like cheese before a meal and have been known to order the cheeseboard from the dessert menu as a starter: with a nice cracker, some nuts and chutney, it can be a wonderful way to start your evening food journey while also giving you the chance to experience a sweet dish from the proper desserts at the end. I never like to miss out on something sweet.

But when it comes to matching whisky and cheese, I have two suggestions: one a starter or snack dish and the other a simple cheese and whisky pairing that I hope will turn you on to smoky whisky if you don’t already like it.

The first is a baked cheese dish that is almost as simple as cooking can be. You’ll need to get your hands on a French semi-hard round cheese called Camembert. This cheese is perfect as it often comes in a wonderful size (about 5 inches in diameter, the same size as a DVD) and housed in its own wooden case. Remove the packaging, place the cheese in the small wooden box it comes in, pour a dash of olive oil, take some green herbs or garlic and place them on top with a pinch of salt. Then bake the cheese on a low heat for around 20 minutes, or until it looks ready. Simple, isn’t it?

After removing the cheese from the oven, simply take some bread and dip it into the now gooey cheese. What a treat for around four people! Serve this with a nice glass of light single malt (I’d go for Glenlivet 12 Years Old) that has spent a couple of hours in the fridge. Perfect.

Now towards a simpler pairing: blue cheese and smoky whisky. To see how this works, simply take some rich blue cheese (I’d recommend Stilton), and place it on a small cracker, oak cake or crispy thin bread. Then take a sip of an extremely smoky Scotch such as Laphroaig, and before swallowing, take a bite of the cheese. The two complement each other perfectly. If you didn’t like smoky whisky before, I guarantee you will now.

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Published: 26 Dec 2014, 08:15 AM IST
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