November 10, 2009

Italian Food and Scotch - Yum!

A picture is worth a thousand words, but since I forgot to take my camera to the DiVino tasting, the words must suffice! A terrific crowd of Scotch lovers gathered at DiVino's to savour a range of award winning Single Malts, paired with some delicious cuisine, created by DiVino's executive chef Maria Amalia Garza and her team. Everything seemed to match perfectly at this event. I tend to think that whisky and food can be a bit of a hit or miss. I'm of the opinion that food needs to be quite big in flavour to work with 40% and higher alcohol levels, a cornucopia of flavours, and whatever malty or peaty characteristics are at play. There are some flavour/weight marriages that just seem to work, regardless of the circumstances of consumption - for example, Lagavulin 16 and Roquefort never seem to disappoint. Given that Roquefort is also amazing with Sauternes, Loupiac or a great Icewine, this is one versatile cheese!

Each of the whiskies and the tasting plates stood proudly alone, but were enhanced by each other - the ultimate goal. Some of the highlights of the evening included the roasted butternut squash risotto, washed down with a 12 year old Glendronach - a brilliant weight match and complementing sweetness in both the food and the whisky. A 15 year old Linkwood from Gordon and MacPhail was divine with possibly the best osso buco I've tasted. The brioche bread pudding with caramel sauce was fantastic with a 16 year old Longmorn. I tend to describe this whisky as a bit brooding. Come to one of my whisky tastings and I'll undoutedly prattle on about that. The various flavours in the Longmorn - malty sweetness, cereal, nutty hints, vanilla to name a few - worked really well with the sweet, caramel, bread elements in the pudding.

Jim Murray named the cask strength Ardbeg Uigeadail as his Best Whisky of the Year 2009 - not bad out of 3000+ whiskies! This outrageous and utterly fabulous whisky from Islay is not for the faint of heart. It needs no food partner, but was proclaimed outstanding with an amazing creamy, rich Gorgonzola cheese with some quince jelly.

With few apologies for the preceding shameless use of superlatives, these whisky tastings at DiVinos just keep getting better. Hope to see you at the next one!