Here at the Scotch Whisky Experience, we are often called upon to lead private or bespoke whisky tastings for family groups or business clients who want an event that’s a wee bit special. Many people don’t realise that different Scotch whiskies will go perfectly with various foods, it’s just about getting the flavour profiles and balances right, something our Visitor Assistants and Bar staff are highly trained at doing. You can even try a tailored food and whisky matching tasting session, with canapes provided by our award-winning Amber Restaurant team.
However, how about something a little different? To celebrate International Chocolate Day (7th July), we asked Scotch Whisky Experience Visitor Assistant Heather Newlands – an expert in leading tastings and food matching with whiskies – to give us some pointers on how to match whisky with chocolate. But not just any chocolate – all of these whiskies have been matched with chocolate bars you can find in your nearest cornershop or supermarket! Try them out and see what you think…
“One of the most enjoyable facts of whisky is being able to match each and every one of the ‘amber nectar’ brands with an array of different food. Most recipes concentrate on the traditional three course meal – starter, main and sweet, with delightful desserts ranging from sharp and creamy cranachan to the heaviest stick toffee pudding.
But have you ever thought of straying away from that tradition? Chocolate, yes that addictive pleasure, makes a perfect match.
Now, those who are aware of this delicacy seems to be drawn to expensive truffles or high-end chocolate with at least 60% cocoa content, and undoubtedly, a good dark chocolate with a body melt of 15 seconds, washed down with a perfect Scotch will leave you with a blanket of contentment.
Not everyone has the means to enjoy both of these pleasures together, so I’ve compiled a more accessible match by selecting a few cornershop confections that go beautifully with a dram of your favourite whisky.
First to tingle the palate is Balvenie Doublewood with a Cadbury Crunchie. The Doublewood is a sweet, mellow whisky with honeycomb notes which mingle perfectly with the classic honeycomb and chocolate combination that’s so famous for giving ‘that Friday Feeling’.
Dalmore’s 12 year old single malt whisky should be enjoyed with a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, its concentrated citrus aromas drawing to the fore deliciously dark, thick-cut marmalade.
Deanston’s 12 year old single malt goes wonderfully with dark chocolate gingers – the whisky brings out the tingle of the ginger on the tongue, whilst the dark chocolate mellows into the whisky.
Heaven is summed up in a Glengoyne 12 year old Scotch whisky matched with a Cadbury’s Caramel, which compliments the whisky’s natural smoothness and flavours of toffee apples and cinnamon spice.
The light-bodied Scapa Skiren, full of flavour with hints of coconut, pairs up perfectly with a classic Bounty Bar.
A Glenmorangie Signet, made with roasted chocolate malt which gives natural chocolate and coffee aromas, mellows beautifully with Coffee Creams.
And last but not least, a Smokehead 18 year old single malt from the whisky region of Islay will pair up nicely with After Eights. Smoke and mint – who would have thought? You’ll notice that the whisky itself has undertones of mint and cloves on the nose, flavours which are highlighted well by After Eight mints.
I have many more chocolate matches to Scotland’s beloved whisky, and would love to share them with you. So you see, the perfect whisky tasting experience can be as easy as you want it to be, there’s an option to suit everyone. Enjoy.
What do you think of these flavour combinations? Have you got any favourite chocolate or candy bars that you think Heather could match with a dram of Scotch whisky? Let us know in the comments!