There are so many interesting posts here. I'm definitely going to have to try some out.
A few of the things I have found that go well with scotch are:
Really good chocolate chip cookies. Don't settle for anything store bought or made from a mix. Find your best recipe and get good quality chips (I use 60% Giradelli) and bake them yourself. The whoel house will smell good---then drink your scotch.
Also, aged gouda. Roomano (it's a 5 year gouda) if you can find it. I happen to love this cheese in general but have found that it goes especially well with scotch.
As an aside, this reminds me of a Christmas eve dinner experience I had a few years back.
Picture a classic, NY Italian family, gathering around the table. The host/patriarch, Johnny, is working his way around the table with a bottle of red, and a bottle of white. He gets to cousin Buddy (a bit of a wise guy, in the original and "Sopranos" sense of the phrase, down to the clothes and pinky ring). Buddy is working on his Dewars/rocks, and Johnny asks him if he'd like red or white...
Buddy's answer (imagine heavy NY-wise-guy accent here): "John, I'll stick wit' Scotch, 'cause I find it goes just as good wit' meat as it does wit' fish."
True story...and I nearly sprayed my own wine across the table.
So the idea of pairing a meal with different scotches is not a crazy idea? At home, I have not found too many times where I thought it was that great. I think of scotch as pretty much going it alone, before or after dinner. I mean how many things mix well with scotch for a drink that's better than scotch, neat?
Recently I was invited to an unadvertised tasting menu dinner at an Italian restaurant. They do quite a few Italian seafood dishes. No telling what the chef had planned but I passed on it because he said he was pairing scotches with the dinner.
How common is this? I've never heard of it before.
Five Counties Cheddar and wholemeal or water biscuits.
Smoked trout with horseradish sour cream.
A nicely charred medium rare steak.
Potatoes panfried in butter, salted.
Simple green salad.
Athole Brose: whipped cream, honey, scotch. Chill it to set. Apparantly you also add toasted oatmeal, though I've never done that.
You didn't mention the style of SMS whisky (Islay, heavy peat, sherried, etc.) so here are my suggestions:
chocolate chip cookies
chocolate-covered coffee beans*
semi-sweet dark chocolate
Gravestein or Granny Smith apple slices, dipped in cinnamon honey
humus with eggplant
Olives (green, Kalmata, Nicoise)
If, OTOH, you're attempting to define the differences between distilleries of similar styles, saltines or plain bread sticks with simple water to cleanse the palate.
* Trader Joe's brand of chocolate-covered coffee beans is GREAT!
Agreed, save the cigars. Lots of things go with Scotch. Nothing I am aware of goes with cigars.
Other 'Scotch foods':
vanilla ice cream w/black pepper (not kidding)
smoked meat (though personally, not fish)
roasted salted nuts
Good luck, and report back. Interesting thread.
I managed a restaurant in Scotland during 2005 that did whisky dinners with Dr. David Wishart. Local food with local drink! 2 different menus in two days. Each course had the whisky cooked into the dish as well as a tasting sample served.
1. Seared Scallops flamed in Glenturret 10 with Pea Puree and Mint Butter Sauce.
2. White Onion and Strathdon Cheese Soup with Tullibardine 1993 Cream and Croutons.
3. Lemon, Ginger and Glenfiddich Liqueur Granite
4. Shoulder and Loin of Scottish Lamb, Wild Mushrooms, Garlic Roast Potatoes, Rosemary and Springbank 10 Reduction
5. Dark Chocolate and Benromach 15 Pot with White Chocolate and Almond Biscotti
6. Coffe and Handmade Truffles laced with Dunkeld Athol Brose, served with Glenfiddich Solera 15 or Athol Brose
1. Tien of Smoked Salmon marinated in Glen Farclas 12 with Creme Fraiche and Avruga
2. Wild Mushroom Consome with Glenrothes 1992 and tarragon
3. Cranberry, Apple and Drambuie Sorbet
4. Breast of Gressingham Duck, Pearl Barley and Spinach Risotto, Highland Park 12, Lime and Heather Honey Jus
5. Apricot and Vanilla Parfait with Balblair 10 Syrup and Cumin Shortbread
6 Coffee and truffles like the previous menu.
For you non-cigar smokers, here is a sample "Cigar Dinner" menu:
Cigar Dinner Menu Cigars by Alec Bradley, Trilogy Series
1stCourse Puree of Butternut Squash Soup Smoked Duck Cranberry Relish Cigar - Cameroon Wrapper: Filler Nicaragua, Italian
2ndCourse Grilled Quail Mushroom Risotto - Toasted Cumin Seed Gouda Cigar Corojo WrapperFiller: Honduras, Nicaragua, Dom. Republic, Mexico
3rdCourse Chocolate Waffle Espresso Ice Cream - Cappuccino Cream
Cigar Brazilian Arapiraca Maduro Wrapper Filler: Nicaragua, Columbia
oh man, nothing is going to get over the flavors of cigars and scotch...
maybe, blue cheese and strawberry jam on crackers, some strong smoked and sliced sausage plates, stuffed olives, anchovies... anything sort of ripe and strong. what about kimchee with shots of fish sauce?
i know that is not very helpful, i'll be interested to hear what other people have to say