Cigars and food are perhaps one of the most beautiful and delicious pair out there, according to many. Even though they may not seem as perfect lovers in the first place, enjoying a stogie while having a delicious dinner can be an amazing sensorial experience if you know how to do it right. Cigar and drink pairings are already notorious in the cigar world for the amazing taste experience and food pairing is one of the freshest trends. We are going to discuss the proper manners when doing this pair and some of the best matches to make sure that you will have the best dining experience. Let’s dive in and tingle our taste buds!
1. The Ritual of Cigar Dinner
Having a cigar during dinner is a great choice but to make sure that you are a true gentleman you have to make sure that the context and occasion are appropriate. Don’t light up a cigar near people that don’t enjoy the smoke and make sure that everyone at the table has agreed with this. Your cigar etiquette is one of the most important points in enjoying a cigar.
Also, the best place is a well-ventilated place that will not be filled with smoke after just a few draws. The best-case scenario is an open-air terrace or a large ventilated room. This is for the advantage and comfort of both your companions and for yourself. A room filled with smoke will also blunt the taste of the cigar, making the whole experience less enjoyable… and speaking of taste, don’t forget to store your cigars in a humidor box with good capacity to keep them moist and tender.
Another important thing to consider is that in-between courses or during one of the courses, you will not have tons of time for smoking. Many aficionados recommend short cigars or even cigarillos for food matches because they have a short smoking time. Now that we have the proper manners set, let’s see what are the best pairs.
2. Appetizers and Cigars
Antipasti, appetizers, entrees, no matter how you call them, are in general very light and easy to digest. This specific course is made to open up your appetite and give your taste buds a party. Cigar and drink pairings are already focused on appetizer drinks like Campari or Vermouth. Pairing Food and Cigars is also a treat at the beginning of your meal. The cigars most suitable for this task should be light and with a neutral flavor like natural tobacco or earth. This way you will fully enjoy both the aromas, no matter if you are smoking the cigar before, during, or after the appetizer itself.
3. Seafood and Cigars
Seafood is one of the most loved meals out there thanks to the very delicate and still delicious aroma. Given that they have a very mild aroma, the perfect cigars for this specific meal are light or light to medium-bodied cigars. In terms of aroma, the neutral ones or the more earthy and woody ones are suitable given that they will range the flavor palette of the whole experience. If you’re looking for some lobster recipes for this occasion – check this post.
4. Barbeque Food and Cigars
If you’re having a juicy steak full of spice and aroma you should consider a full-bodied cigar. Meat in general has a very juicy and strong taste that can only be accompanied by a cigar partner that has the same personality. A light or medium cigar will be overshadowed by the strength of the meat. Regarding the aroma, barbeque meat should be paired with a spicy cigar that doesn’t include sweetness or floral notes.
If you are having barbequed vegetables, a medium to a full-bodied cigar or even a full-bodied cigar is an excellent choice. Grilled vegetables have juiciness and smoky aroma that should be balanced with a tobacco aroma or with woody aromas. You can also go for leather or earth aromas depending on the base aroma of the spice used during the cooking process.
5. Pasta and Cigars
One of the most popular foods in the world, pasta is a great pair for a cigar. The aroma of pasta can range from spicy to sweet to earthy and so on, depending on the type of recipe. But overall, pasta can be considered a medium-ranged food in terms of flavor. Keeping this in mind, medium-bodied cigars are an excellent choice for a delicious plate of pasta. Depending on the base taste of your meal, the aroma range of the cigar is very large. The cheese-based pasta can be paired with sweeter cigars that have a nutty and creamy undertone while spicier dishes can be a perfect match for leathery or spicy cigars.
6. Dessert and Cigars
Cigar and drink pairings can be considered one full-blown dessert themselves but the food and cigar pairs are also amazing. Dessert can be quite a tricky match given the wide range of flavors and undertones. One specific dessert that is not a good match is ice cream. Given the fact that ice cream can be quite numbing for the palate and taste buds, it is better to avoid it.
As a general rule, desserts should be paired with light-bodies cigars to balance the strength of both cigars and the food. Citrus-based desserts can be a perfect match for cigars that have a citrus or even a floral aroma. The stronger desserts in terms of sweetness should be balanced with cigars that are more neutral in terms of taste to avoid a sugar and sweetness rush that will ruin the whole experience.
One of the best matches for pairing food and cigars is chocolate-based desserts and dark chocolate ones to be more exact. The bitterness of the cigar can perfectly balance the inner taste of the cigar, providing a strong and amazing experience.