On 25th January, in Scotland and across the world, we raise a dram of whisky to ‘The Bard’ - Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Poet – as we address the haggis during Burns Night celebration.
A traditional Burns Supper comprises haggis, neeps and tatties (haggis, mashed turnip (or swede) and creamy mashed potato – which we love to serve with Highland Park Whisky Cream Sauce) and while dessert usually takes the form of that delicious concoction of cream, whisky and berries called Cranachan , a great alternative (or addition if you’re pushing the boat out!) would be a savoury-sweet pairing of Highland Park whisky with cheese.
Last year, we teamed up with Duncan Maclean, proprietor of Kirkwall food and wine specialists, Kirkness and Gorie , to run a special Whisky and Cheese Tasting Tour at the Distillery during January, so this year we’re sharing our recommended pairings with you again, in time for Burns Night.
12 Year Old Viking Honour & Parmigiano
A perfect marriage, trialled and tested in restaurants as either an appetiser or a way to round off a wonderful meal. The honey, orange zest and rich fruitiness of the whisky perfectly complement the salty notes of this world-renowned Italian hard cheese.
16 Year Old Wings of the Eagle & Brie de Meaux
We paired a delicate and quintessentially French Brie with our elegant 16 Year Old Wings of the Eagle. The whisky’s marzipan, nutmeg and fruit notes, together with a hint of smoke, are a beautiful foil for the earthy, buttery notes of this superb soft cheese.
Twisted Tattoo & Dorset Red
Matured in ex-bourbon and Rioja casks, Twisted Tattoo combines rich red wine notes with the gentle sweetness of vanilla, peaches and cream – absolutely delicious partnered with the mellow smokiness and creamy texture of this delightful English cheese.
18 Year Old Viking Pride & Westray Wife
We’ve paired one of our most highly awarded whiskies with a local Orkney cheese from Westray. A marriage made in heaven with the whisky’s wonderful notes of cherries, honey and dark chocolate melding beautifully with this delightfully subtle and nutty cheese.
21 Year Old August 2019 Release & Murcia al Vino
We tried this cheese with various expressions but 21 Year Old made the decision for us. Its complex yet refined notes of ginger, orange, pear and honey are fantastic with the fruity and wine-infused flavours of this splendid Spanish goat’s cheese - exactly what I would serve in an opulent eatery. (PS. The direct translation of Murcia al Vino is ‘Drunken Goat’!)
Kirkness and Gorie stocks a mouthwatering array of cheese and deli foods and an incredible collection of the finest craft whiskies, wines and gins. Founded in 1859 by James Kirkness the business was handed down to his daughter Mary and her husband, John Gorie, whose names are above the door on to this day. Notwithstanding a minor skirmish with Customs and Excise back in 1875, when the old tradition of ‘free trade’ between Orkney and Scandinavia began to be viewed less favourably, the shop has grown from strength to strength. It stands proudly as one of Orkney’s most highly respected and best-loved local retailers with Duncan Maclean at the helm today.
Cheese is a speciality, bordering on an obsession, for Kirkness and Gorie. The shop has a core range of about 30 cheeses always in stock and a further 70 appearing on a rotating basis, meaning you’ll find at least 60 cheeses in their fridge on any one day. That way, as it says on their website,‘… everyone’s favourite, not matter how obscure, will make an appearance in our fridge every three or four weeks.’