Fine dining is often paired with fine wine, where whisky is mostly overlooked or not even brought up because “the high alcohol percentage of whisky would kill the dish”. Accepting these prejudices as a challenge, the Whisky Couple – Hans and Becky Offringa, joined forces with the Gastronomic Couple – Jonnie and Thérèse Boer, to create a (Dutch) book, pairing excellent whiskies with exquisite recipes: De keuken in met whisky, which translates as Take your Whisky to the Kitchen.
After an elaborate explanation of basic flavour profiles and how the individual smells and tastes interact with each other in both drinks and food, the clear and uncluttered layout of the book with colourful page-spread pictures, already introduces us to the first recipe. Before each recipe, the dish is summarised with a short taste-profile of the suggested whisky and a taste-sensation of the pairing. After the recipes, a brief distillery profile is given.
It is hard to fathom the number of experiments the two couples and the team of the three Michelin star restaurant must have researched and discarded before ending up with the final selection. They compiled a range of flavour profiles to comprehensible and detailed recipes, leading to unexpected confronting flavours of astronomical proportions, or astonishing harmonic gustatory combinations.
Admittedly, even with finding ourselves behind the stove often enough to try something new, we found out the hard way that the book is not targeted on the faint of heart when it comes to a difficult recipe. Some of the ingredients are not easily found in your local supermarket, and even your specialist shops may have a hard time digging up some of the more exotic ones. With some ingenuity and flexibility (which, let’s face it, is basically what cooking is), the recipes are doable for the advanced home-cook who might be needing one or two extra devices to experiment with – no punishment there either.
Contrary to some of the ingredients, the whiskies are selected from a widely available range. To slowly get your feet wet, the book meticulously describes the bridge between flavours found in food and drinks, and will give an excellent idea to you, as the ever-developing cook on how to continue growing your skill.
An adventure for the experimental cook looking to serve a different drink with their dishes as well as a challenge to the experienced whisky drinker, looking to expand their culinary whisky-pairing experience beyond slivers of smoked salmon and chunks of chocolate or cheese.
With Christmas around the corner, the book might just be what you are looking for to lift your homemade Christmas dinner to a higher level or giftwrap it for your gastronomic whisky friend and put it underneath the tree. At the moment, the book is only available in Dutch, but there are plans to translate the book into English.
Thanks Karakter Uitgevers B.V. for providing a copy to review.
About Hans and Becky Offringa
Hans and Becky Offringa are known as the Whisky Couple where they work together on different assignments as hosts for whisky tastings, translators, photographers and book editors. Hans Offringa is an established bilingual Dutch and English author having published over 20 books in both languages and has contributed to, translated and edited many others. He has not only written whisky books and numerous articles in all well known whisky magazines, he has also written a handful of non-whisky related novels. Hans has been inducted as Tennessee Squire, Kentucky Colonel and Keeper of the Quaich, and is Dutch SMWS ambassador since mid 2016. He studied English, Business Journalism and has a professional graphical education with specialisation in electronic media.
About Jonnie and Thérèse Boer
Jonnie and Thérèse Boer are known as The Gastronomy Couple, famous for their superb combinations between food and drinks. Jonnie has been cooking in De Librije for more than 20 years where Thérèse joined the team as host and sommelier in 1990 and in 1993 they took over “De Librije” in Zwolle. Building up to a three Michelin star restaurant in the years after they added the Librije’s Hotel in Zwolle to their list of successes.
About the book
|Title||De keuken in met whisky|
|ISBN||978 90 4521 432 0|
|List Price||€ 29,99|
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Photos of the inside of the book by Ron Greve, used with approval of the author. Book Photo by WhiskySpeller.