In Pursuit of the Perfect Pairing
Photo credit to @mrharrisonr.
TORVILLE and Dean; Boycott and Edrich; fish and chips – cigars and ice cream?
The alchemy of pairing your smokes with food and drink is yet another of the wonderfully layered aspects to our endless fascination with cigars.
Because the cigar world has so many leaves, blends, strengths, flavours and characteristics, the palette for pairing with food and drink is limitless.
El Jeffe – Sautter owner Laurence Davis – suggests that the rare pairing of boiled egg, caviar and a mild, flavourful cigar is the breakfast of champions. Nick Hammond, cigar author of note, says he has a leaning towards cheese, cigars and Rioja.
The point is, the sky is the limit, so if you’re not already out there experimenting – why not?
Admittedly these days it’s not often you can eat and smoke at the same time, unless in your own home, but we would love to hear about your favourite pairings so we could share them and let others know. Famous pairings include Scotch or Cognac, but the pairing of food with your smoke is a much less considered option.
It makes sense that things with a rich, silky or fatty taste often work the best. There’s no coincidence that a great steak followed by a cigar is about as satisfying as it gets. The unscientific theory for this is that fat molecules from the steak coat the palate and allow more flavour molecules from the cigar smoke to be tasted. That may be absolute bunkum – but to the unscientific mind, it sounds logical.
Similarly, creamy or oily foods can work well – a high-quality vanilla ice cream alongside a high-quality Cuban cigar is extraordinary; a punchy Nicaraguan with a Guinness a revelation.
Other pairings you may not have tried (or even considered) are Iberian Jamon; oysters, Champagne and a light beauty like a Por Larranaga; kippers; mackerel paté; sushi and cigars with quality chocolate.
An apple is an interesting choice, as are other fruits – they tend to act beautifully as palate cleansers between each puff and you may find some dried fruit notes are pulled out of your cigar as a result of this pairing.
The point is, try all the things you like, in a myriad of combinations. Don’t be afraid to innovate and go down the eccentric route. This is where some of the finest pairings are to be found, hiding outside of plain sight and only available to those with the breadth of mind to try them.
If you happen upon a winner, please let us know; if we get enough feedback, we can publish the results and perhaps suggest some suitable pairings, from both the New World and Cuban spheres of cigars. There is a lifetime of enjoyment to be had from cigars and food and drink pairings – go beyond coffee, be a devil – are just another branch of the road along your journey.
Strap yourself in and prepare for the ride of your life!