I have known Marietjie since University. There we shared many a bottle of whisky around a badly lit kitchen table, solving the world’s problems. Today she is a successful career woman and mom and works as the National Key Account Manager for Clover SA. About a month ago, I saw her for drinks and she had a big complaint.
When are we going to pair one of the Clover cheeses with an affordable whisky? So, it was arranged. I will bring the whisky, she will bring the cheese. Together, we were going to find a few whisky cheese pairings that is both affordable and accessible in South Africa. I visited her one Friday afternoon late and took my overnight bag with. I knew that, after testing a few pairings and solving some world problems, driving was not an option.
She produces 3 different Clover cheeses and I took 5 bottles of whisky. Yes I know, you should not try more than 4 to 5 different combinations as your taste buds get overloaded. But we had 1 night and we had to make the best of it. With plenty of breaks in between, we tried 15 different variations. Some worked and some did not. Needless to say, we had an enormous amount of fun.
If you have a small budget and want to invite a few friends over for a festive end of year celebration, these combinations are available, inexpensive and guaranteed to impress.
Bain’s Cape Mountain whisky & Clover Gouda
Earlier in the year, we tried some mature Dutch Gouda with a few expensive whiskies and it made for a great pairing. This time, we wanted to pair the Clover Gouda with an accessible whisky. The best pairing was the Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky whisky. The smooth fruity notes of the Bain’s brought out more caramel notes in the rich Clover Gouda and the Gouda enhanced the Bain’s sweetness. Add a few spicy nuts to your whisky tasting to elevate it to another level. We gave it a Rating: 4/5
Jim Beam Black & Clover Cheddar
The Jim Beam Black knocked our socks off this year, as an affordable Bourbon with a big taste. It is quite a spicy Kentucky Straight bourbon with the sweetness being enhanced by a few drops of water. The cheese pairing that worked the best with this American classic was the Clover Cheddar cheese. The Jim Beam Black made the Clover cheddar creamier and the Clover cheddar mellowed the spiciness of the Jim Beam bourbon. We gave this bourbon whiskey cheese pairing a Rating: 4/5.
Three Ships 5 yo & Clover Elite Mature Cheddar
This timeless South African favourite works wonderful with stronger cheese. We have paired it successfully with a Fairview Blue Tower earlier in the year. The Elite Mature Cheddar is stronger and nuttier than the normal Clover cheddar cheese with a firm texture and a complex taste. It smoothed out the peaty notes of the Three Ships Premium Select 5 yo and softened the whisky. The whisky in turn made the mature cheddar nuttier and creamy. A great combination. We gave it a Rating: 4/5
These were the top 3 combination from our evening. Quick and easy! Your party ideas sorted. Add a few nuts and some crackers and get the celebrations started. This article also appeared in the February 2016 Clover internal magazine.