Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bourbon and Country Ham.

Of course they are perfect together. You can't believe you had to be told, but you did. It was Woodford Reserve Resident Chef Ouita Michel who enlightened you. Pairing food with American whiskey is tricky because the whiskey is so flavorful, it's hard to find foods that can stand up to it. Barbeque with a young rye or rye-recipe bourbon has always seemed the perfect pairing, but Ouita serves a fine, Kentucky country ham that could stand with any jamón serrano and it ideally complements the softer and more elegant bourbon made by her employer.

Goat cheese, fresh or aged, also very nice.

As Kentucky vies to be the Napa Valley of American whiskey, sophisticated locavore cuisine is a natural development. There was nothing like Ouita's food, or the food at Proof on Main, Limestone, or Corbett's, (all in Louisville) when I lived there 20 years ago. Now that's pretty much what fine dining means.

If you have trouble finding good country ham in the big city, Meachams, in Western Kentucky, is a good mail order source. With "ham" in their name, how could they not be?

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