There is perhaps no more gratifying part of the day than a good smoke and a fine meal. Not all food and cigar pairings are created equal, however, but with a little experimentation you can find your ideal match no matter the occasion. Whether it is grilled salmon, a juicy burger or homemade nachos, there is a cigar suited for the meal.
In order to discover what works best, you will just have to try good food and great cigars together. It is a rough way to go to be true, but someone has to do it.
Barbecued or grilled meats, as well as lively Latin American fare are excellent pairing-partners with cigars and will usually prove a most delicious experience.
Many find the complex flavors of numerous Asian and French cuisines, however, might often be muted by a cigar, but again this is about what you enjoy. There is no right or wrong way to capture all of what brings you the most sensory pleasure.
Keep in mind foods that are overly spicy can wreak havoc on your palate as to make almost any cigar you spark up seem to have a bite. On the other end of the spectrum, lighter fare can be overwhelmed by a hearty smoke, so finding food and cigars that work in tandem is the key to success.
The general guideline to remember when pairing food and cigars is that pairings based on body or taste can be opposing or complementary. Similar flavors, for example, will work together to build a thickly textured and cohesive taste, while opposing flavors will spar with one another to make for a much livelier more complex interplay of tastes that would normally be less pronounced.
Whether complementary or opposing in character, the combination will ideally create a tasty culinary adventure which will enhance the cigar experience to its fullest.
Some examples of a deliciously bold pairings are a sweet and tangy BBQ brisket sandwich paired with a spicier Zinfandel and a Diesel Unlimited d. 4, peppery steak fajitas and a Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 Gran Consul or a CAO Brazilia Lambada teamed up with braised beef in a sumptuous mole poblano sauce. For a subtle, more elegant pairing, fresh Lobster tail in warm butter sauce with Champagne and a Rocky Patel Vintage ’99 Connecticut Petit Corona will spoil you to no end.
If something light is what you are after, a shrimp salad, crisp white wine and a mellow Connecticut shade-wrapped stick will be a most rewarding excursion. If at all possible, however, it might be a good idea to avoid oily or acidy dressings as these can wreak havoc on the cigar’s flavor, not to mention your innards.
One of the most gratifying of all cigar and food pairings is that most American of foods: burgers! Burgers are so versatile in the flavors one can add to the mix, that they are almost always a good partner to a great cigar. For a complex bombardment of deliciousness, try a burger bathed in teriyaki then topped with smoked cheddar, bacon, sautéed jalapenos and pineapple on a ciabatta bun with a Macanudo Cru Royale Poco Gordo and a cool Smoked Porter.
The key is finding ways to maximize the level of pleasure each pairing will bring to the overall experience. That’s what makes experimentation so gratifying, the possibilities are endless.
With as many cuisine choices as there are cigars, the only limits are how far your imagination can carry you. So, enjoy the tastier things in life and discover the ever-tantalizing bond between cigars and the culinary arts. Bon Appetit!