‘Sip and Savor’ Scotch Tasting at PIRCH in Costa Mesa: Great Food; Excellent Teaching by Scotch Connoisseur Ray Pearson

lamb chop. Photo by Edward Simon for The Los Angeles Beat.
Last Wednesday, PIRCH, purveyor of quality high-end goods for kitchen, bath and outdoors, held a ‘Sip and Savor’ event featuring noted Scotch Whisky expert Ray Pearson. Ray took the guests through the basics of Scotch, how it is different from other types of whiskey and how it is affected by everything from ice cubes to the advantages of a few drops of water to bring out some of the characteristics. He explained what the difference is between blends, ‘married’ Scotch whisky and single malt Scotch. He also explained the ins and outs of Scotland and what part each of the tasted Scotches was from, as well as the characteristics of each area.

Whisky sampleEach one of Ray’s excellent Scotch choices was paired by PIRCH’s Executive Chef Chris Russell. The evening started off with a Speyside Benromach Whisky. This whisky, with a touch of smoke, ginger and spices, was certainly one of the best pairings of the night. Chef Craig paired it with a slightly smoked oyster, lightly battered and fried to a crisp. Ir was served along with a sliver of fried ginger to cement both food and drink. Both items complemented each other and provided an excellent start for the evening.

Ray went on the the second course, using an eye-dropper to show what changes are made to the whisky and how just a touch of water opens up the aromas and flavors. The second whisky was a Highland Old Pulteny, with a scent of honey and nuts to it. This seemed to be one of the most popular of the Scotches, smooth and dry. It paired extremely well with Chef Craig’s Seared Foie Gras with a Vanilla Brioche and a caramelized banana. The foie gras was grilled perfectly and had just a touch of char on the outside.

photo gallery at end of article

The third course started with a whisky from Scotland’s Lowlands, the Auchentoshan Three Wood. As is with the other Scotches Ray chose, he went with some excellent, small production and somewhat unknown (to those in the US) bottles. In this way, each whisky was a discovery. The protein for the course was a roasted quail, very tender and flavorful and served with a fig and cherry gastrique. It was absolutely delicious.

The meat course went with a Isle of Jura Scotch. It was actually a mild, tasty drink, with a slight scent of pine. It was very drinkable, especially for those who were novices at Scotch tasting. The pairing was an excellent Winter Crusted Lamb Chop, the meat so tender it melted in your mouth. The Scotch did not overpower the subtle seasonings of the lamb nor the Malted Barley Pilaf. During the course, Ray explained the location of the Isle of Jura and why it was such a special place to make Scotch.

Finally a traditional Scottish dessert, Sticky Toffee Pudding, was served to cap off the evening. The Bowmore Scotch, with it’s smoky, earthy tones, made an excellent sipping Scotch to accompany the dessert. The characteristics of this Scotch showed why it is just an extremely popular drink to ‘Sip and Savor’. Overall, the meal and pairings were excellent and both Ray and Chef Craig got a rousing ovation at the end. After that, guests were free to walk around and see some of PIRCH’s displays, with many getting ideas about their next home project.

PIRCH is a unique concept, emphasizing customer experience with the best in high-end, high-tech home and outdoor appliances, custom design services and a range of quality items for kitchen, bath and the outdoors. PIRCH is all about collaboration, with the Sip and Savor being just one of the interactive events to bring creative culinary experiences to people. They are known for their innovative installations and interesting demos.

PIRCH will continue to do many demos and tasting events for the public. This is an excellent way to learn to cook a new dish, savor some excellent food or enjoy an educational evening about wine and spirits. Info about that, or any of PIRCH’s locations or products, can be obtained at their website, www.PIRCH.com.

Ed Simon

About Ed Simon

Ed is a native of Los Angeles who loves food and food cultures. Whether he's looking for the best ceviche in Colombia, the best poke in Hawaii, the best tequila in Jalisco, the best Bun bo Hue in Vietnam or the best Taiwanese Beef Roll in Los Angeles, it's all good food! He also loves a good drink. He's had Mai Tais in Hawaii, Bourbon in Kentucky, Tequila in Mexico and Rum in Jamaica. His wine escapades have taken him to Napa, Sonoma, the Willamette Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley. And he's had beer all over the world! Music is another of Ed's passion, writing and interviewing many classic rock, rock and blues musicians. Getting the great stories of road experiences from them is a particular delight. Traveling also fits in with Ed's writing, exploring all over to find the most interesting places to visit, even in out of the way areas.
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