WhistlePig Rye + Chocolate + Cheese
Posted on 01 March 2018
It’s obvious to anyone who reads these blog posts that I love whiskey. So when Kim, the President of Women Who Whiskey L.A., asked if I wanted to participate in a WhistlePig Rye, cheese, and chocolate pairing event, I immediately said yes (more like “YES!!”).
The event was held on January 16 at the beautiful Traxx restaurant in Union Station in Downtown L.A. and it was spearheaded by Kim in collaboration with Judi Laing, founder of Corkageonline.com. With such a delicious concept, it's no surprise that the event sold out quickly!
Colin Smith-Clark, an L.A-based Cheese Master (Le Maître Fromagier), and I were tasked with coming up with cheese and chocolate pairings that would complement WhistlePig’s 10 year, 12 year, and 15 year ryes. We used the tasting notes from WhistlePig as a starting point and here’s what we came up with and why:
WhistlePig 10 Year
We focused on the whiskey’s hints of caramel, orange peel and rye spice. I created a dark milk chocolate mendiant with a blend of coriander almond praline; I thought the coriander with its light citrusy component would nicely compliment the rye spice. Colin selected Death & Taxes, a raw cow’s milk cheese that’s been washed with Moonlight Brewing's Death & Taxes black lager. It gets some nice subtle wood and chocolate notes, with a really fresh, fruity grassy paste.
WhistlePig 12 Year
The tasting notes for this whiskey include fall fruit flavors and rye spice. We decided on a tart morello cherry jam blended with dark chocolate paired with Chiriboga Blue cheese, a fruit-forward blue cheese with a killer, fudgey texture that Colin already loved pairing with cherries.
WhistlePig 15 Year
The tasting notes for this one really excited me: caramel, vanilla, oak, leather, and a hint of tobacco. Since I’m partial to peated scotches, I was excited about the idea of pairing this with a smoky Lapsang Souchong tea. I also liked the idea of the contrast as a follow-up to the sweeter pairings. Colin agreed and paired it with a Westcombe Cheddar, an oak-aged cheese that he thought would compliment the woodiness of the whiskey and the smoke of the tea, also picking up on the darker fruit and orange notes.
Attendees were given plates with each cheese and mendiant. Kim introduced details about the whiskey while Colin and I each explained our pairing selection. We were also available in between tastings to answer questions.
The cheese, chocolates, and whiskeys all paired nicely together with complimentary and contrasting flavors and textures. As a bonus, we gave all attendees sample-sized versions of our Sesame Fig Butter Cup, a flavor that pairs particularly well with a variety of whiskeys, and invited them to try it at home along with their favorite whiskey. It was a fun experience for all involved (and I even snagged some 15 year to take home for later!).