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Cheese is one of the most fascinating food groups.  Never boring, it provides such a great variety of tastes, textures and of course the delivery of that one-of-a-kind robust olfactory experience.  It offers itself as an easy appetizer or light snack to pair with whisky.  If you have not tried this taste duo, you will be surprised at how exquisite the pairing is when flavors and textures are properly aligned.  Something just wonderful happens on your tongue as the silkiness of scotch cuts through the creaminess of cheese.

The best way to get started is to enlist your local cheese shop experts.  Have them recommend something to pair with the flavor notes of your favorite dram.  Experiment with a variety of cow, goat and sheep's milk cheeses and be sure to sample the best style each country has to offer.  Then sit back and enjoy the visual, tactile and aromatic dynamics of both food and drink. Below are our recommendations for pairing.

humbtfog pvecc

gda

Humboldt Fog

Paired with Oban 14 year old or

Glenlivet Nadurra 16 year old

Piave Vecchio

Paired with

Clynelish 14 year old

Rembrandt Gouda

Paired with

Highland Park 18 year old

This soft and wonderfully gooey cheese is one of the finest American goat cheeses.  It comes  from Cypress Grove Chevre in Arcata.  Its signature vegetable ash stripe through the center and under the rind helps to neutralize the acidity and remove some of the "goatiness" of this tomme style cheese.  Earthy, herbaceous and with a slight tang, Humboldt Fog makes a stunning treat when paired with spicy fig preserves or ripe blackberries.

 

The Oban 14 year old is a Highland scotch that carries through on the spicy fig harmony but adds a little honey and whisp of smoke to the combination. Click here for detailed Oban tasting notes.

 

The lovely Glenlivet Nadurra 16 year old from Speyside provides a lighter, fruitier malt with spice notes of anise and ginger. Click here for detailed Nadurra tasting notes.

This cow's milk cheese from the Piave River Valley region of Belluno, Italy is aged for one year.  It is described as having almond and tropical fruit flavors.  Piave Vecchio is a dense, hard cheese that goes well with crisp white fruits such as apples or pears.

 

It is splendid when paired with the 14 year old Clynelish from the Highlands.  Clynelish has that same crisp and light fruitiness that is sympatico with the nutty sweetness of this cheese. Click here for detailed Clynelish tasting notes.

This semi-hard cow's milk cheese from Holland has distinct spots of crystallized protein that present an interesting texture on your tongue.  Gouda delights with honey and butterscotch notes along with a slight saltiness and sharpness.  It is said to have the caramel finish of an aged whisky.

No wonder it goes so well with the Highland Park 18 year old.  From the Island of Orkney, this malt has the perfect balance of toffee sweetness and smokey finish.  Click here for detailed scotch tasting notes.

Compliment pairing with fresh figs,  a spicy fig preserves or blackberries
Garnish the dish with pear slices.
Add pecans for a truly
harmonious pairing.

manch

gruyere2013

cbstilton

Manchego

Paired with

The Balvenie Madeira Cask or

Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX

Gruyere

Paired with

Auchentoshan Three Wood

Colston Bassett Stilton

Paired with

Ardbeg Uigeadail or

Glenfarclas 17 year old

This Spanish classic is a semi-hard sheep's milk cheese with a slightly briny but rich nutty flavor.  It is traditionally served as a tapa with slices of quince paste to top off each piece.  The quince is essential to this pairing as no other fruit compares.

In keeping with these signature Mediterranean flavors, we tried the Balvenie Madeira cask 17 year old from the Speyside region.  The subtle Madeira finish and fruit notes of this expression balance beautifully with the Manchego and quince.  Click here for Balvenie  Madeira Cask tasting notes.

Another exquisite pairing are the flavors of the Pedro Ximenez sherry cask finish of Glenmorangie's Sonnalta PX with the Manchego cheese.  Click here for Sonnalta PX tasting notes.

Gruyere is named for the Swiss Village where this cow's milk cheese originated.  It is semi-soft and a bit grainy in its texture with rich buttery, hazelnut flavors.  While this cheese is most well known for its performance in fondue, it is absolutely wonderful on its own.

Here hazelnuts are the flavor theme so we paired Gruyere with Auchentoshan Three Wood.  This lowland malt has persistent sherry and whisps of smoke combined with layers of orange peel, licorice, cassis and of course toasted hazelnut flavors.  Click here for Auchentoshan Three Wood tasting notes.

Nicknamed "King of Blues", this is one of England's finest Stiltons.  This cow's milk cheese is thick, deliciously pungent and salty.

For an adventurous taste combo, Ardbeg's Uigeadail has the oomph to stand up to Stilton's aggressive flavor.  From the Islay region, this scotch has seemingly never ending layers of peat, raisins, subtle sherry, hints of caramel and a slight medicinal note that are all intense but richly balanced.  Click here for Uigeadail tasting notes.

If you prefer a less peaty dram, opt for a fruity aged whisky such as the Glenfarclas 17 year old. Click here for Glenfarclas tasting notes.

Quince paste or preserves, of course
Serve with toasted hazelnuts or  hazelnut bread as accompaniment
Red Raspberries complete this rich taste trifecta

 

 

 


 
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