After a couple of posts regarding food pairing, and a couple of recipes explaining how to make Whisky desserts, a good friend of mine got in touch to tell me about his favourite recipe book.Whisky Kitchen: 100 Ways With Whisky and Food
He went one better and offered to cook a couple of dishes from the book to show how easy they were to follow. This called for a Whisky Adventure in his home town of Pitlochry.
Pitlochry is a quaint yet extremely busy highland town with masses of history from Jacobean battles to Mafia linked distilleries and everything in between. It is a place I will always hold extremely close to my heart as it was the summer holiday destination for my parents, my siblings and most of our extended family for the best part of my childhood.
It was the kind of place where we paddled in the river, rowed in the loch, watched the fish dance and walked for miles to the local pub for a pint and the local catch. A magical place where my curiosity in the whisky industry flourished as I got to explore the then smallest distillery in Scotland, Edradour
, the classic malt of Dalwhinnie
, the unsung hero in Blair Athol
and the wonderful Aberfeldy
. An excuse to stop here is one I will never turn down!
So fellow Adventurer Patsy Christie
and I jumped in the car and headed north to Kindallachan to meet our wonderful friend and Red Bull connoisseur Iain Wisely and his colleague and partner in crime fighting (they’re lawyers) Francis.
Our first stop of the day was McKays
. Added bonuses all around as we discovered a mixed grill breakfast platter with ham, steak, Stornoway black pudding, chicken, sausages and an egg as well as a chicken wings(best in Scotland)/tattie skins/nachos combo platter all accompanied by some great live music. Brunch and Dancing, cannae beat it!
This was effectively our battle planning arena as Iain set out his grand plan of combining Whisky with food. We heard wonderful stories about haggis soup, chicken with a whisky reduction and some Fiery Irn Bru to wash it all down. After the plan was called, we headed out.
It was pouring with rain. Our initial objective was to climb Ben Vrackie before sharing some Highland Park at the top. Unfortunately it was shrouded in cloud, so instead we headed for the black spout working up a sweat and eventually landing at Edradour. A distillery that despite it’s modern visitor centre still looks like a time capsule. Tiny little worm tubs and a morton refrigerator are a couple of highlights for the geeks, and the sheer range of Signatory Vintners bottles will leave any serious collector in awe. The Whisky is fantastic as well!
On the way back we stopped at everyone’s favourite bar: The Moulin Inn
. Character, warmth, good humour and dogs allowed, what more could you ask for. Oh yeah, and great pub grub!
After a pint of local brew we headed back to Iain’s for our starter. The fabled Haggis Soup with a smidgeon of cask strength Tobermory, fabled to bring grown men to their wobbly knees, calling on Bruce and Hugh as Billy Connolly might have put it. The reasons for such mytghs became quickly apparent as Iain’s smidgeon is like an old style dram
. I couldn’t finish the bowl as I had to drive, Patsy just couldn;t finish the bowl and Francis had to leave the room as the fumes were getting to us. Definitely a stag do starter! Less whisky though and this would have been magical!
After the soup had settled we decided to wander around Pitlochry’s Enchanted forest
. This is a must see for any visitor. Run every October, the local foliage and gardens are engulfed in a wonderful light and sound show which will make everyone from 5 to 55 gasp in delight and feel at peace with the world. Quality!
After an hour lost in the magic of it all, Iain brought out his Pièce de résistance. His chicken was cooked perfectly, coated in a balsamic, mustard and Singleton of Dufftown sauce. Served with spinach and tomatoes, the whisky shown through without making anyone fall over.
This recipe is worth the price of the book alone! The morale of the story, follow the recipes, their usually right!