There are two types of cigar smokers when it comes to food pairing, those that like it and those that don’t. Whether you believe in having a cigar before, during or after dinner, the new trend that is going around the world is pairing cigars with different food flavours just like you would do with wines and other liquors. It is quite easy for cigar experts to choose the right pair of drinks to go with their cigar, but finding the right food to pair with your cigar may not be easy. If you go for a meal with strong flavours, it will overpower the taste of the cigar, and if the food is mild, the cigar’s flavour will overpower the food’s taste. It is vital to know the kind of cigar to have with specific meals. If you’re a believer of pairing food with cigars, we have a few tips on how to get the right pairing.
Always keep in mind that you want to pair food and cigars that are alike. Cigars have strong flavours that can remain in your mouth for hours, so you want to compliment it with flavours that, match. The whole point of pairing food with cigars is to enhance the flavour of both the food and cigar. Pairing cigars with food does not have a strict rule that you have to follow; you might enjoy having a mild cigar with a meal that is not normally known to pair well. We are just telling you some of the pairings that are popular and go well, but that should not stop you from enjoying your own combinations.
A lot of cigar smokers enjoy having a cigar between their dinner courses, so if you are eating out, you might want to choose a small cigar to have after you have had your starter. To begin your pairing adventure, you might want to pair cigars with light bites that include, cheese, olives and smoked meats. These foods have smokey and salty flavours that go well with cigars such as Petit Corona and other similar cigars; they also improve the zesty flavour of the vegetables that come with the dishes.
If you are enjoying a light meal that doesn’t have strong flavours, you should pair it with a mild cigar. You don’t want to overpower the taste of the cigar or meal, if not you won’t enjoy both the cigar and the meal. For dishes that are creamy such as pasta, fish or chicken, you will want a small and mellow cigar. Mini cigars such as Romeo Y Julieta Mini and Davidoff Club usually go well with these kinds of dishes. Cigars usually go well with fish, especially if it is smoked, the smokey flavour matches the flavour of the cigar and enhances the overall taste. Creamy pasta, creamy chicken soup and onion gratin soup taste like heaven when paired with a cigar.
When it comes to fish, it is advised to pair it with white wine, and the same goes for cigars. While you enjoy a Chilean Sea Bass or Flounder, you want a cigar that is smooth, light and probably has a citrus flavour. Go for a cigar that has an Ecuadorian or Connecticut wrappers such as a Henry Clay War Hawk or a Montecristo White. They have a creamy and smooth feel that goes well with the taste of the fish without overpowering it; instead, it enhances the flavour of the meal.
Meaty Dishes (Steaks, Chops, Burgers)
When it comes to dishes that include meat, you want to go for medium to full-bodied cigars. The strong flavours of both the meal and the cigar balance well to give you a wonderful experience, especially if its served with creamy potatoes. Keep in mind that if you’re having a top-quality steak you want to go for a premium cigar, you don’t want to choose a cigar that is inferior because it will spoil the nice flavours of the steak when you are having steak for cigars such as Bolivar Royal Corona, the new Onyx Bold Nicaragua, Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder and Punch Punch Tubos. You could go further by pairing the meal and cigar with the drink you would normally pair the cigar with; you could use bourbon to glaze your meat or add a bit of red wine to the gravy. An example of a good steak and cigar pairing is the Padron Family Reserve 45 Years Maduro with a Nebraska Star Beef Angus Premium Ribeyes Package; these two go hand in hand.
Another amazing match is barbequed meats with cigars, these types of meats are smokey, and this makes them have bold flavours that match that of the cigar. Their strong flavours will overpower a mild cigar, so you want to go for a cigar that is full-bodied to match the taste of the barbequed meat. You could pair a plate of Texas Ribs with the Roma Craft CroMagnon, but if you are having a North Carolina BBQ, you need a cigar with a bit of spice such as Flor De Valle. It has a spicy flavour that will go well with the meat.
Pairing Cigars With Taco
Tacos have become very popular with time. An authentic taco is usually made with various types of meat or fish. Tacos are usually spicy with a bit of lime, cilantro and salsa which gives them a complex flavour that needs to be matched; you could go for a cigar such as the Espinosa Laranja because it has a bit of spice with citrus and floral hints which makes a beautiful combination
Pairing Cigars With Italian Food
Italian food is mostly made with sauces that are sweet such as tomato, Marsala, Scampi and Francese. For this meal, you want a full-bodied cigar because Italian food and cigars are made from a mixture of different flavours, so you have to be careful not to overpower. Choose a medium to full-bodied cigar that has some sweetness to it to compliment the taste of the meal. A lot of spices and herbs are used in making Italian meals and pairing it with the right cigar will bring out the flavours of the home-cooked goodness.
Pairing Cigars With Seafood (Lobster, Shrimps, Clams)
These types of food have a lot of flavours, but it isn’t overpowering, so pick a cigar that matches the tone of the food. Do not go for a full-bodied and strong cigar because it will ruin the delicate flavour of the seafood. Shrimp and lobster have a sweet taste while mussels and clams are usually served with sweet red sauce and butter. Because everything has a sweet flavour, you want to pair them with a medium-bodied cigar with a wrapper that has a natural sweetness in both aroma and taste. Go for a cigar with a Connecticut wrapper and try to choose one that has a blend that goes well with the dish you’re having.
Cigar Pairings With Desserts
Usually, cigars are used as a replacement for desserts because the smokiness of a cigar might not pair well with the sweetness of the dessert, you can decide if you want to have a smoke before, during or after your dessert. The most common treat that is enjoyed with a cigar is dark chocolate because the bitter flavours pair well with the tastes of a cigar.
Cigars go with desserts depending on what dessert you’re having. A lot of cigars have nutty and sweet flavours that can pair well with some desserts such as dark chocolates. Pairing cigar with desserts ultimately depends on what dessert you’re having, if you are having a vanilla ice-cream, you can go for a light and sweet cigar such as a Sobremesa Brulee.
However, if you prefer something with peanut butter and chocolate, you can choose a sweet and mild cigar that has a rich side such as an Ashton Aged Maduro that has a broadleaf wrapper with aged Dominican fillers. It has hints of coffee, chocolate and nut which will pair well with the flavours of the peanut butter and chocolate, the bitter taste of the chocolate will not overpower the taste of the cigar. Another nice dessert to pair cigars with is a whiskey cake, you get to enjoy the three elements of liquor, cigar and sweets all at once. A nice cigar to try with your dessert is the Cohiba Maduro Secretos.
Other Food Pairings With Cigar
There are a few food pairings with cigars that are nice and can be a personal favourite, they include;
Ashton Heritage (Puro Sol #2 Cameroon Belicoso) And Whole Cashews
If you would like to snack on something while having an affordable cigar, you can go with this pairing. The Ashton Heritage (Puro Sol #2 Cameroon Belicoso) has a smooth blend with a slight sweetness due to its Habano wrapper; this cigar can be used as an everyday smoke because it has an affordable price. Most online retailers sell it for about $10.
The cashews (Planters Deluxe) have a rich texture and flavour that goes well with the cigar; they are also affordable; they are sold for about $10 per 1 pound container. Both the cigar and cashew are affordable and give you an enjoyable combination.
Ashton Classic Churchill And Lobster Tail
A lobster tail is a luxurious food that is widely enjoyed. They can be made in multiple ways – broiled, baked, boiled, grilled and steamed. Lobsters have a mild flavour that is why they pair well with the Ashton Classic; this cigar has a nutty and creamy hint which goes well with the taste of the lobster. If you choose a cigar that has a strong flavour, it will overpower that of the lobster, thereby ruining your meal.
Inferno Melt And Wagyu Single Cow Burgers
Grilled meat is loved by a lot of people which makes it a popular meal to pair with a cigar. If you are going to make burgers to pair with your cigar, ensure that you get premium patties. The Wagyu Cow Burger Patties are sold for about $5 for 8 ounces on Amazon depending on the price of beef at the time of purchase.
The Inferno Melt is a Maduro cigar that has a strong flavour which goes well with the smokiness of the burger. If you plan on making a cheeseburger, use cheese that has strong flavours to match the flavour of the cigar.
How To Choose The Right Food To Pair With A Cigar
The best way to find appropriate food and cigar pairings is by reading food blogs such as Serious Eats and also experiment with your favourite foods and cigars; everything depends on your preference.
Most people enjoy having snacks with their drinks instead of food, having a tray of cheese, crackers and olives will go well with most cigars and also smoked meats, pepperoni, sausages and salami will also pair well with cigars. However, it is recommended that you smoke after eating instead of smoking on an empty stomach. Although you do not inhale the smoke from a cigar, it still gets into your system through your sinuses and mouth, and if you haven’t eaten, the nicotine content of the cigar might cause you to be nauseous.
Always remember that there are no rules set in place when it comes to cigar and food pairing. Enjoy a cigar any way you want, and you can experiment as much as you want. This guide is to help you know the basics of pairing food with cigars and help you enjoy your dining and smoking experience. All in all, remember that small and light cigars go with meals that have light flavours while heavy and bigger cigars go well with heartier meals that have full flavours. You can always pair food and cigars that you prefer but try out some of the suggestions; you might just enjoy them. Just have as much fun as you want, in the end, the best food pairing with your cigar will be one that tastes good to you.