Following my trip to Islay last year I drew up some pairings for its extraordinary peaty whiskies. I’m not a great one for whisky dinners but I like the idea of serving tapa-sized dishes with a dram.
Many of these are untried but here are some of the flavours and ingredients I think would work with whiskies such as Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig.
Must kick off with a classic. Read this match of the week for the reason why
2. Mutton or rare breed lamb
A pairing that’s closer to home. Islay almost certainly has more sheep than people and the lamb has the same sort of rich, aromatic flavour as salt marsh lamb. In miniaturised terms I’d be thinking of mutton pies or a not-too-spicy lamb samosa.
3. Middle eastern style lamb meatballs or kofte
Similar thinking with a touch of spice
4. Char siu, barbecued or pulled pork
It would heighten the smokey barbecued effect deliciously, I think, and could deal with the sweetness of a marinade
5. Smoked reindeer or venison
Scandinavians are great fans of Islay whiskies, I hear, and I’m sure would love smoked meats like reindeer or venison with them - maybe as a part of a tailormade smorgasbord selection
6. Teriyaki salmon
Again a speculative pairing but I reckon cubes or skewers of teriyaki salmon would work really well
7. Kipper quiche or paté
You’re not going to want to drink whisky with your kippers (I would hope) but in a tartlet or mixed with cream or cream cheese in a paté I’m sure it would work.
8. Charred or roast aubergines
There’s got to be a veggie pairing for peaty whisky and my money’s on aubergine - most likely in the form of the middle eastern spread baba ganoush.
The authentic Indian version with lentils rather than the anglicised one with smoked haddock. Served as a rice bowl.
10. Plain, dark chocolate - at least 70%
Pretty good with blended whisky - bound to be good with a peaty one.
And one for luck: Maltesers! I was originally tipped off by someone who works at Lagavulin and then tried it for myself. It's weirdly moreish - you have to try it for yourself!