MEDIA RELEASE Whisky and Food Mix it_ match it_ enjoy it By by forrests



Whisky and Food: Mix it, match it, enjoy it
By Tribeca Public Relations To many people, life would be meaningless without food. It’s obvious that we need food to survive, but there is that part of society that builds its very existence on food and the pursuit of culinary adventure – and this part is growing quite rapidly. For years, people have paired liquor, particularly wine, with food according to the best flavour match between the food and the drink. There’s nothing worse than two flavours that clash on your palate, so the actual chemistry of paring food and liquor, although it is an art, also requires a lot of experimentation. Whisky – an unusual companion to food? Whisky, generally, would not be considered the “usual” companion to food; however, the truth is that pairing whisky with food is growing in popularity. “Pairing whisky with food is a new fun, trendy way to have a dinner party and, although not yet very popular in South Africa, is showing remarkable uptake in the emerging middle class,” says Karen Short, managing director of By Word of Mouth, the official caterers for the FNB Whisky Live Festival. However, a challenge when matching drink and food is understanding the flavour profile of the items you want to match. “Whisky has a very strong flavour and can easily overpower food,” Short says. “So, when pairing whisky and food, it’s always a good idea to water the whisky down a bit,” Short adds. She advises starting with the more lightly flavoured whiskies with something like sushi for starters and then moving on to stronger or more full-bodied flavours as you progress through the meal – ending with a bold whisky paired with a dark chocolate dessert. “I guess discovering the almost endless list of notes and flavours that are found in an equally endless variety of whiskies is half the fun,” says top South African chef, Jon Belinsky. “The ideal whisky dinner, one that includes a tipple tasting with each course, needs to be a wellorchestrated affair. I would suggest smoked salmon as a starter, followed up with either a whisky flambé of prawns on delicate tomato risotto or minted lamb on a spicy honey mash. “Round off with a chocolate whisky ganache, fresh fruit and some homemade whisky, barley malt and cinnamon ice cream. Add Irish coffees and a whisky liquor to finish off the evening, and that’s what I would call a good night of whisky and food.” Whisky, as much as – or even more so than – wine, has very complex characteristics, with a number of different whiskies matching a variety of different foods. In fact, whisky is such a versatile tipple that it can feature at every stage of a sophisticated or casual dinner. According to Sian Loehrer, senior brand manager for Pyotts, versatility is at the core of whisky, very much in the same way that versatility is at the core of Pyotts’ snack products. “We often get calls from consumers asking for interesting recipes for snacks based on our range of Pyotts biscuits.

“There are literally hundreds of ways to enjoy our snacks with different toppings, and we have found that they also make a great accompaniment to whisky, which is why our involvement in the Sensory Zone at the FNB Whisky Live Festival has been such a success to date.” Belinsky will be this year’s culinary host at the Pyotts' Sensory Zone. Assisted by his team of food fundis, he will showcase a wide variety of tantalising recipes that feature Pyotts biscuits and can be paired nicely with a dram or two of whisky. “Almost anything goes,” he says. “If you want to match food and whisky, take a look at the notes and flavours that describe the specific whisky you’re enjoying. These would typically be along the lines of apple, pear, vanilla, spice, malt, the toffees and smokiness. “When you mix it with food, think about what sounds like a good mix to you and try it. You could be very surprised,” Belinsky adds. Combining the dried-fruit sweetness and smoky characteristics of a Talisker 10-year old with seared salmon, or the pungent and peaty flavours of a Caol Ila 12-year old with chorizo and salted tuna loin are two great examples of how whisky can take food to the next level. “Cheese, chocolate, smoked foods, rich oysters, game, pickled foods, haggis, oats, bacon, foams, jellies and Japanese ingredients all go well with whiskies,” Short adds. “The more intense the flavour of the food, the more you’ll be able to pick up the flavour notes of the whisky.” There is no food on this planet that stands complete on its own without a complementary drink, and whisky has clearly emerged as one of the drinks to pair with food of any type. Follow the FNB Whisky Live Festival on Twitter: or join the FNB Whisky Live Festival group on Facebook. ENDS Sidebar Taking place at The Cape Town International Convention Centre from 5 th to 7th November 2008 and at The Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 12th to 14th November 2008, the FNB Whisky Live Festival provides the perfect platform from which to ease yourself into the world of whisky. It will run from 18h00 to 22h00 daily. Tickets cost R150 per person and will be available at Computicket from 16 September 2008. Group discounts (10 or more) are available. The FNB Whisky Live Festival encourages responsible drinking. No persons under the age of 18 years old will be allowed into the Tasting Hall and dedicated driver tickets are available. For further information please visit or e-mail

### Contacts: Birgit Deibele, Tribeca Public Relations:, (011) 208-5500, 082 349 4894

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