One of the more enticing get-togethers instigated by the British American Chamber of Commerce, a few years ago, was a whiskey tasting, touted to include Haggis and other Scottish hors d'oeuvres.The Bubble Lounge in San Francisco was a stylish location for the event and so I signed up and Hubby and I found ourselves looking forward to something a little out of the ordinary.
Upon arrival we found a pleasant group of well dressed, friendly people, already obediently wearing the stick-on name tags. I think every one every where should wear name tags, all the time. It takes a lot of effort out of an encounter.
There were a few kilts in evidence and it wasn't long before the piper did what pipers do and we were all served Haggis on toast with the first sip of whiskey. We listened to a brief description from a representative of the distillery and savored the smooth flavor, reminiscent of The Highlands.
I had been expecting smoked salmon to be one of the selection of hors d'oeuvres. I admit, my imagination was a bit stumped to guess what else might be thought of as traditionally Scottish. Never underestimate The Scots. The next round was an audacious paring of Laphroaig Islay Whiskey with fresh oysters, served with a Laphroaig whiskey sauce. My French hubby was an instant convert.
If you wish to try Laphroaig for yourself and find it hard to recall the name. In any well qualified distributor of fine spirits, ask for the whiskey that tastes like dirt, (but in a good way). They should know instantly which one you mean.
There is a fine history of a pure and exceptional whiskey produced in a distillery on an island off the West Coast of Scotland. Water flows in picturesque burns and filters through the layers of peat, picking up the unique earthy flavor. I love the concept but the aroma is not dissimilar to a roofer's tar barrel (but in a good way).
The evening was in it's early stages and we were already learning new ideas and acquiring new tastes. We could hardly wait for the next tempting morsel.
There was a brief, surprise announcement that the Mexican Chef who had somehow been hired to replace the original caterer for the evening, had no idea what to serve that might be of Scottish ilk. He had bravely stepped up and made an executive decision and the rest of the whiskeys were accompanied by sushi. I believe this may have been one of the most multicultural evenings we ever enjoyed; (but in a good way)!