A Devonian Pairing: Quicke’s Clothbound Cheese & Dartmoor Whisky Single MaltThree pairings from two of Devon's most exciting producers.
We’re so delighted to bring you this pairing from our friends and Devon-based cheesemakers Quicke’s who have been nurturing the land in their idyllic corner of Devon for over 500 years.
You may not believe it, but whisky and cheese share so many things in common. Let us tell you why…
Quicke’s Cheese and Dartmoor Whisky are both produced naturally and in harmony with nature. Cheese is made from milk, and whisky is made from barley. Both of these things start with the soil. The best milk, like that which Quicke’s cheese is made from, is from grass-fed cows, for whom soil is so important. The production process for both cheese and whisky is natural and both have been made in the same way for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
The other ingredient that both of these products need is time. Time for the maturation process to work its magic, adding a complex depth of flavour and developing flavour notes from to the environment it is stored in. Malt spirit needs three years and a day in its cask to officially be called whisky, and the cask is where the majority of the flavour and all of the colour comes from (providing it has not had flavourings or colourings added). Likewise, clothbound cheddar is aged in a cheese store to further develop flavour and crucially, will take on specific flavours from the place in which it is stored.
Cheese and whisky are both greatly enjoyed with others. A cheeseboard always gets conversation flowing – as does sharing a dram by the fire with friends. Whisky and cheese are both social and people love to talk about them. Including us!
Pairing cheese with whisky
Cheese and whisky compliment each other, helping to bring out certain flavour notes and characteristics, but just like with wine and cheese pairings, it’s important to find a balance when pairing whisky with cheese.
Powerful whiskies need to be met with powerful cheeses. Whisky with strong flavours, like smoky peat, will need to be matched with cheeses with a similar strength of flavour. The same goes for body and mouthfeel.
Cheese can actually help you taste the whisky better too, as it provides a creamy coating to the gums which softens the harshness of some whisky.
How to taste whisky
The first sip of a whisky will never be your favourite. Think of this sip as preparing your palate. It takes three or four more sips for the tongue to really start tasting what you’ve introduced into the mouth.
Try it neat first, then add a drop of water before tasting again. The addition of water will soften the spirit and open up the flavours.
You’ll want to start with the mildest pairing first and work your way up to the more robust, so we recommend following the tasting in the numbered order we’ve suggested.
So grab a glass, make your cheese board and join us on the pairing experience…
The Cheese & Whisky Pairings
Ex-Bourbon Cask & Quicke’s Goat’s Clothbound Cheese
Across the pond in the USA, the pairing of Bourbon whisky and Clothbound Cheddar has a solid following. Although not a Bourbon whisky, Dartmoor Whisky’s Ex-Bourbon Cask carries a similar caramel sweetness from sitting in a single Ex-Bourbon cask for the duration of the maturation process. The caramel sweetness of the whisky works really well against the tangy sharpness of an aged cheddar, especially if that cheddar is grassy and bright. Quicke’s Goats Clothbound Cheese is a delight when paired with the mellow and honeyed Ex-Bourbon Cask.
The grassy savouriness that Quicke’s have achieved in the Goat’s Cheese from their heritage cultures work well against the Ex-Bourbon Cask Single Malt, and the brightness stands up without being overpowering on the acidity.
Ex-Bordeaux Cask & Quicke’s Mature Clothbound Cheddar
Dartmoor Whisky’s Ex-Bordeaux Cask Single Malt is a fruit-forward whisky with distinct wine gum flavours. These bold flavour notes need a bold cheese to match, and nothing matches better than the Quicke’s Mature Clothbound Cheddar. Typically aged for 12-15 months, this is a rich and buttery cheddar with a flavour which develops as it reaches the back of the palate. The high fat content in this cheddar stands up to the fruity flavours very pleasantly.
Ex-Oloroso Sherry Cask & Quicke’s Vintage Clothbound Cheddar
With Dartmoor Whisky’s Ex-Oloroso Cask Single Malt, sweetness dominates from start to finish. It’s a rich and robust single malt and so able to stand up to strong flavours. Enter Quicke’s Vintage Clothbound Cheddar, aged in the cheese stores for up to 24 months. This is the oldest cheese in the Quicke’s range and therefore is an intensely rich cheese with a delightfully crumbly texture and huge depth of flavour- from umami to butter, to salted caramel. The acidity of the cheese cuts through the sweetness of the Ex-Oloroso Sherry Cask perfectly.
Win this pairing
To celebrate the partnership, we are giving you the chance to win the entire cheese and whisky tasting experience to enjoy at home.
Using traditional recipes, time-honoured techniques and heritage starters passed down through the generations, Quicke’s create award-winning clothbound cheddar in Devon, just outside Exeter.
Made by hand in the old-fashioned way, slowly matured for a deeply satisfying flavour, Quicke’s cheese celebrates the deep connection that has grown between the Quicke family and the land they have nurtured for almost 500 years.
Dartmoor Whisky Distillery
Dartmoor Whisky Distillery is crafting Devon’s first single malt whisky on the edge of Dartmoor National Park in a beautiful ex-Cognac still which was hand-beaten in 1966.
Saved from sitting dormant since its decommission in 1994, the still has been fully refurbished and is now producing smooth, sweet new make spirit made from Dartmoor barley, guided by our Master Distiller, Frank McHardy.
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